Family Cardinals (Cardinalidae)

Least Concern

Dickcissel (Spiza americana)


French: Dickcissel d’Amérique German: Dickzissel Spanish: Arrocero

Emberiza americana

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

New York, USA




Extreme S Canada (SE Saskatchewan, S Manitoba, S Ontario) and C & EC USA (E Montana E to Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, S to Texas and Georgia); migrates to Central America and N South America (S to N Colombia, Venezuela and N Brazil).

Descriptive notes

15–16 cm; male average 28·5 g during breeding, 36 g pre-migratory Apr (Venezuela); female 25 g during breeding, 30 g pre-migratory in Apr (Venezuela). Male... read more


Song onomatopoeic, a dry insect-like series of notes, e.g. “see see dick dick ciss ciss ciss... read more


Grassland areas. Breeding habitats include hay fields, grassy roadsides, lightly grazed pastures... read more

Food and feeding

During breeding season omnivorous, stomach contents about two-thirds animal, one third vegetable. Prey includes grasshoppers (Orthoptera),... read more


Egg-laying begins mid-May in S parts of range (e.g. Texas) and Jun in N; single-brooded, although possible that some, after breeding, move... read more


Migratory. Core wintering range C Venezuela (especially Portuguesa and W Guárico); winters... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common. Has fluctuated widely, both in total numbers and in geographical distribution, for much of its known history. Core... read more

Recommended citation

Brewer, D. (2020). Dickcissel (Spiza americana). 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 4 April 2020).