Family New World Sparrows (Passerellidae)

Least Concern

Orange-billed Sparrow (Arremon aurantiirostris)


French: Tohi à bec orange German: Goldschnabel-Buschammer Spanish: Cerquero piquinaranja

Arremon aurantiirostris


, 1847,



Closely related to A. taciturnus, A. flavirostris, A. schlegeli and A. abeillei, the present species being sister to the last-named#R. Recent study found evidence of substantial genetic differentiation between populations of this species in Panama, but the significance of this requires further research#R. Eight subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. a. saturatus Cherrie, 1891 – Caribbean slope of SE Mexico (S Veracruz, N Oaxaca, NE Chiapas and Tabasco), N & C Guatemala (Petén, Alta Vera Paz and Izabal) and Belize.
  • A. a. rufidorsalis Cassin, 1865 – Caribbean slope from Honduras S to extreme NW Panama.
  • A. a. aurantiirostris Lafresnaye, 1847 – Pacific slope of Costa Rica and both slopes of Panama (E to Canal Zone).
  • A. a. strictocollaris Todd, 1922 – E Panama and adjacent Colombia (N Chocó).
  • A. a. occidentalis Hellmayr, 1911 – Pacific slope of W Colombia (S from middle Atrato Valley) and NW Ecuador.
  • A. a. erythrorhynchus P. L. Sclater, 1855 – N Colombia in upper Sinú Valley, lower Cauca Valley and middle Magdalena Valley.
  • A. a. spectabilis P. L. Sclater, 1855 – SE Colombia (Putumayo) S through E Ecuador to NC Peru (Huánuco).
  • A. a. santarosae Chapman, 1925 – SW Ecuador S from Chimbo Valley and extreme NW Peru (Tumbes).
  • Descriptive notes

    14·5–16·5 cm; mean 34·5 g (Costa Rica). Medium-sized, chunky sparrow with stout bill. Nominate race has black head, including chin and malar area, with grey ­median... read more


    Song on Caribbean slope high-pitched and thin, “ts’ seew ts’seew seeew seer”, with alternating... read more


    Occupies undergrowth of dense tropical rainforest, forest edge, also guamil (abandoned cultivation... read more

    Food and feeding

    Few data available. Diet includes a variety of insects and seeds. Forages on and near ground. Unobtrusive.


    Season Feb–Sept in Costa Rica, May–Oct in Panama, and Jan–May in Colombia. Nest a bulky domed or oven-shaped structure with side entrance,... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Status not well known owing to the species’ elusive nature. Apparently fairly common to common in appropriate habitat. Thought to be an important... read more

    Recommended citation

    Rising, J. (2020). Orange-billed Sparrow (Arremon aurantiirostris). 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 February 2020).