Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Northern Grey Saltator (Saltator grandis)


French: Saltator du Mexique German: Grausaltator Spanish: Pepitero grisáceo norteño

Tanagra grandis

W. Deppe

, 1830,

Mexico = Jalapa, Veracruz


Until recently considered conspecific with S. coerulescens and S. olivascens, but mentioned as potentially a separate species in HBW, and this now confirmed by genetic#R and vocal analysis. Has two song types, a whistled song with last note a slurred rising whistle (3), and a stuttering song (at least 2)#R; more rufous-buff belly (except in some cases brevicaudus, which may instead have a belly seemingly slatier than that of any other taxon in the complex) (1); and generally a longer white eyebrow (1). Race yucatanensis intergrades with grandis in Belize. Proposed race richardsoni (described from Colima, in W Mexico) is a junior synonym of plumbiceps. Six subspecies currently recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. g. vigorsii G. R. Gray, 1844 – W Mexico (S Sonora, Sinaloa, W Durango, Nayarit and N coastal Jalisco).
  • S. g. grandis (W. Deppe, 1830) – E Mexico (from S Tamaulipas and E San Luis Potosí) S on Caribbean slope (except Yucatán) to N Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and W Panama.
  • S. g. plumbiceps S. F. Baird, 1867 – W Mexico from C coastal Jalisco S to W Oaxaca.
  • S. g. yucatanensis Berlepsch, 1912 – Yucatán Peninsula (except extreme S Quintana Roo) and S Mexico (E Tabasco and NE Chiapas).
  • S. g. hesperis Griscom, 1930 – Pacific slope from S Mexico (E Oaxaca and Chiapas) and C & S Guatemala S to W Nicaragua.
  • S. g. brevicaudus van Rossem, 1931 – vicinity of Gulf of Nicoya, in Costa Rica.
  • Descriptive notes

    20–24 cm; 52·6–63·4 g (yucatanensis). Nominate race has greyish head, dark lores, white supercilium from bill to just past eye, white... read more


    Song variable across range. In Mexico, a rich, upslurred drawn-out “ch-kweet”, often... read more


    Uses wide variety of habitats that include forest edge, second growth, gallery forest, dry tropical... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly plant matter such as fruits, flowers, nectar, buds and tender leaves; also takes slow-moving invertebrates. In Mexico, proportion of... read more


    Season Apr–Jul in Costa Rica; male in breeding condition in Jul in Nicaragua and another in late Apr in SE Mexico; nests with... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common throughout much of range. No estimates of global population size or population trends, although numbers posited to be... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Marks, J.S. (2019). Northern Grey Saltator (Saltator grandis). 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 14 December 2019).