Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Near Threatened

Dark-throated Seedeater (Sporophila ruficollis)


French: Sporophile à gorge sombre German: Schwarzkehlspelzer Spanish: Semillero gorjioscuro

Sporophila ruficollis


, 1851,

Montevideo, Uruguay


Has been suggested that present species is a colour morph of S. hypoxantha, but this not supported in recent molecular studies. Belongs in S clade of “capped” (“capuchino”) Sporophila (see S. castaneiventris and S. bouvreuil; also S. hypoxantha). Proposed taxon S. melanops, known only from one adult male collected in 1823 on E bank of R Araguaia (extreme WC Goiás), in SC Brazil, is now judged to be a bird of this species acquiring breeding plumage and showing melanism on the cap feathers#R. Monotypic.


SE Bolivia (SE Tarija), SW Brazil (W Mato Grosso do Sul, S Rio Grande do Sul), Paraguay, N Argentina (Salta E to Corrientes, S to Tucumán, N Córdoba and N Buenos Aires) and W Uruguay#R; non-breeding N & E Bolivia and C & S Brazil (E to Minas Gerais, S to Rio Grande do Sul).

Descriptive notes

10–11 cm; 7–9·7 g. A distinctive small seedeater, small-billed and relatively long-tailed. Male breeding has forehead to nape and hindneck grey, this... read more


Song sweet and mellow, a series of descending whistles, sometimes with a more complex series of... read more


Old tall grasslands, sometimes near a moist grassy swale, but not so dependent on adjacent... read more

Food and feeding

Grass seeds. Forages while clinging to grass stems and eating the seeds. Often in small groups or mixed-species flocks.


Season Dec–Feb. Nest a cup-shaped structure of dry woven vegetation, fortified with spider webs, mean diameter 4·5 cm, depth 4 cm, placed c... read more


Migratory. Arrives in breeding range in late Nov to Dec; good numbers of this species spend winter... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near-threatened. Generally uncommon to rare; fairly common to common in N Bolivia. Has relatively large distribution. Considered... read more

Recommended citation

Jaramillo, A. (2019). Dark-throated Seedeater (Sporophila ruficollis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 13 December 2019).