Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Paramo Seedeater (Catamenia homochroa)


French: Cataménie du paramo German: Schlankschnabel-Samenfresser Spanish: Semillero paramero

Catamenia homochroa

P. L. Sclater

, 1859,

Matos, about 15 miles [c. 24 km] north of Riobamba, Ecuador


More closely related to C. inornata than to C. analis#R. Race oreophila often treated as a separate species, but differences (including vocal) do not appear strong. Tepui race duncani has a distinctly brown-tinged belly (2); varyingly dark-streaked back (1); typically brown edges to the remiges (1); and usually rather shorter wings (not measured). HBW also reported a difference in ecology, but assertion there that its whistle is low-pitched requires corroboration#R. Birds in Serranía de la Neblina, on S Venezuela–N Brazil border, have noticeably darker plumage than others, and may merit taxonomic recognition; study required. Three subspecies recognized.

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Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. h. oreophila Todd, 1913 – Santa Marta Seedeater – Santa Marta Mts, in N Colombia.
  • C. h. homochroa P. L. Sclater, 1859 – Paramo Seedeater – Sierra de Perijá (Colombia–Venezuela border), and Andes of W Venezuela (Mérida) and Colombia S to Peru and NW Bolivia (La Paz and Cochabamba).
  • C. h. duncani (C. Chubb, 1921) – Tepui Seedeater – tepui highlands of Venezuela (Bolívar and Amazonas) and adjacent N Brazil (extreme N Amazonas).
  • Descriptive notes

    13·5 cm; 12·2–14·4 g. A small seedeater with longish conical bill longer than it is deep, with only very slightly rounded culmen. Male nominate... read more


    Song in Peru a series of melancholy buzzy whistles, “dseeeeeee djúúú... read more


    Moist shrubbery at edge of montane forest, elfin forest, cloudforest edge, also second growth,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Variety of seeds; in Andes primarily those of Chusquea bamboo (seeding of which is cyclic and very localized), whereas isolated... read more


    Juveniles in Jul in Peru (Cuzco) and birds in breeding condition in Jul in Colombia (Perijá and E Antioquia). No other information. read more


    Resident; may be somewhat nomadic, following seeding of Chusquea bamboo.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Rare to uncommon and local; can be fairly common in Colombia. Has large range, and no evidence of any significant population declines.

    Recommended citation

    Jaramillo, A. (2020). Paramo Seedeater (Catamenia homochroa). 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).