Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Greater Antillean Bullfinch (Pyrrhulagra violacea)


French: Pèrenoir petit-coq German: Rotbrauen-Gimpeltangare Spanish: Semillero prieto

Loxia violacea


, 1758,

America = Bahamas


Treated in Loxigilla in HBW, but molecular study places present species in clade with Melopyrrha (now Pyrrhulagra) nigra#R. Several races differ almost exclusively in size, and validity questionable. Proposed race parishi (described from Î-à-Vache) supposedly differs in smaller size, but measurements do not confirm this; birds of Beata (and previously those of Catalina) sometimes allotted to this race. Birds of Gonâve and Saona sometimes placed in maurella. Five subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. v. violacea (Linnaeus, 1758) – most of the larger islands in Bahamas.
  • P. v. ofella (Buden, 1986) – Middle and East Caicos Is (S Bahamas).
  • P. v. affinis Ridgway, 1898 – Hispaniola, and offshore islands of Gonâve, Î-à-Vache, Beata, Catalina and Saona.
  • P. v. maurella (Wetmore, 1929) – Tortue I (off NW Hispaniola).
  • P. v. ruficollis (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – Jamaica.
  • Descriptive notes

    13·2–17·5 cm; 18–32·4 g. Sturdy, with thick bill. Male nominate race is black, with red-orange short supercilium, throat and undertail-... read more


    Song a repeated trill of insect-like notes, “t’zeet t’zeet t’seet t’... read more


    Dense thickets and undergrowth in habitats ranging from dry coastal scrub to wet mountain forest,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds mostly on fruits and seeds, also on flower parts and snails (Gastropoda). Tends to keep in dense vegetation; probably feeds on or... read more


    Egg-laying Mar–Jun. Nest sometimes a cup, usually a spherical structure with side entrance, made from twigs and leaves, lined with... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common on large islands of Bahamas; similarly common in Jamaica and Hispaniola. Current status of populations on smaller islands not known.

    Recommended citation

    Rising, J. (2019). Greater Antillean Bullfinch (Pyrrhulagra violacea). 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 19 May 2019).