Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)


Great-billed Seed-finch (Sporophila maximiliani)


French: Sporophile de Maximilien German: Weißschnabelspelzer Spanish: Semillero de Maximilian

Oryzoborus Maximiliani


, 1851,

Rio Espírito Santo, Espírito Santo, and Caravellas, Bahia, Brazil


Formerly usually treated in Oryzoborus, when often considered conspecific with S. nuttingi, S. crassirostris and S. atrirostris; race occidentalis of S. crassirostris often placed in present species; taxonomy of this group still in flux. With transfer of present species to Sporophila, name magnirostris becomes preoccupied and is replaced by parkesi. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. m. parkesi Olson, 1981 – E Venezuela (SE Sucre S to Delta Amacuro, and N Bolívar along S bank of R Orinoco), W Guyana and E French Guiana to N Brazil (Amapá and N Pará).
  • S. m. maximiliani (Cabanis, 1851) – C & E Brazil (N Goiás, C Piauí and Bahia S to C Mato Grosso and N São Paulo).
  • Descriptive notes

    14·5–16·5 cm. A medium-sized finch with proportionately long tail and enormous bill; bill so deep that crown appears to sweep back from base of upper mandible, giving flat-... read more


    Song rapid and flute-like, jumping from high notes to low notes and sometimes having metallic... read more


    Usually found near water in shrubby areas adjacent to marshes (riparian thickets), as well as tall... read more

    Food and feeding

    Little known. Forages largely for seeds; usually found in pairs, and does not form flocks.


    Singing in Aug in NE Venezuela. Male performs aerial display, with song; also a wing-raising display to show normally hidden white... read more



    Status and conservation

    ENDANGERED. Now almost universally rare, and local, with few recent records from any part of its range, except perhaps Bolivia. Less than a handful of records from Venezuela... read more

    Recommended citation

    Jaramillo, A. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). Great-billed Seed-finch (Sporophila maximiliani). 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).