Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Orange-fronted Yellow-finch (Sicalis columbiana)


French: Sicale à béret German: Zwerggilbtangare Spanish: Chirigüe frentinaranja

Sycalis columbiana


, 1851,

“Porto Cabello”; error = Ciudad Bolívar, Río Orinoco, Venezuela


Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. c. columbiana Cabanis, 1851 – C Venezuela in delta and basin of R Orinoco, and E Colombia (Meta and Vichada); has bred once on Trinidad.
  • S. c. goeldii Berlepsch, 1906 – Amazon Basin of Brazil from about R Purus E to lower R Tapajós and S Amapá.
  • S. c. leopoldinae Hellmayr, 1906 – EC Brazil in S Maranhão, Piauí, W Pernambuco, N & W Bahia, Tocantins, Goiás and NW Minas Gerais#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    11·5 cm; 11·6–16·1 g. A compact yellow-finch with very short tail and wing, large and rounded head, and a bill large for the bird’s size. Male nominate race has yellow head... read more


    Song a short and chirpy series of unmusical notes. Call a nasal “zhwit”; flight call described as a... read more


    Shrubby zones in riparian sites, usually adjacent to grassy areas; closely tied to water, such as... read more

    Food and feeding

    No details of diet. Forages on ground, also commonly perches in shrubs and small trees; may obtain some food from arboreal substrates.... read more


    Season Jun–Nov in Venezuela; once in Sept in Trinidad. Nest in Venezuela placed in crevice in wall, another in abandoned nesting burrow of... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally fairly common to common. Recorded once in Trinidad, in 1926: several individuals observed, and nesting confirmed. Single old record from NE... read more

    Recommended citation

    Jaramillo, A. (2019). Orange-fronted Yellow-finch (Sicalis columbiana). 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).