Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Nicaraguan Seed-finch (Sporophila nuttingi)


French: Sporophile de Nutting German: Rosenschnabelspelzer Spanish: Semillero nicaragüense

Oryzoborus nuttingi


, 1884,

Los Sábalos (Río San Juan), Nicaragua


Formerly considered conspecific with S. crassirostris, S. maximiliani and S. atrirostris; still included by some authors in S. maximiliani, but by others considered closest to S. crassirostris; taxonomy of this group still in flux. Monotypic.


Caribbean lowlands of Nicaragua, N & E Costa Rica (including Laguna de Arenal, near Finca La Selva) and W Panama (Almirante region of Bocas del Toro).

Descriptive notes

14–14·5 cm; 24–25·7 g. Medium-sized finch with massive bill. Male is all black; iris blackish; bill pale pinkish; legs lead-grey. Female is slightly... read more


Male’s song, from tree or shrub overlooking grassy breeding site, or in flight, a series of slurred... read more


Wet grassy areas, usually near water; 500–900 m.

Food and feeding

Feeds mostly on grass seeds. When not breeding may be found in small flocks, sometimes with other seed-eating finches.


Season Feb–Jul. Nest a flimsy cup of fibres and grasses, lined with finer rootlets and spider webs, placed fairly low over ground or water... read more


Resident; apparently moves in response to available food.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Uncommon; local. Has apparently expanded its range S from S Nicaragua in recent years, with the first Costa Rican record in 1967.

Recommended citation

Rising, J. (2020). Nicaraguan Seed-finch (Sporophila nuttingi). 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 29 January 2020).