Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Pearly-bellied Seedeater (Sporophila pileata)


French: Sporophile à ceinture perle German: Weißwangenspelzer Spanish: Semillero capirotado

Sporophila pileata

P. L. Sclater

, 1865,

Borda do Mato, eastern São Paulo, Brazil


Until recently considered conspecific with S. bouvreuil, but detailed mapping has demonstrated a considerable area of sympatry#R while subsequent genetic analysis has determined that bouvreuil is probably sister to the “S capuchino” clade within which present species sits#R; intriguingly, however, no obvious vocal differences have been identified in available recordings, although more recent study indicates such differences while confirming a modest genetic distinctiveness in bouvreuil but not between present species and four other “capuchinos” investigated (see S. hypoxantha). Monotypic.


S Brazil (E Mato Grosso, Goiás and SW Minas Gerais) S through E Paraguay to NE Argentina (Corrientes and Misiones)#R, locally to N Uruguay; also recorded in Bolivia (Santa Cruz).

Descriptive notes

10 cm; 7·6–10 g. Typical seedeater, tiny and with thick bill approximately as long as it is deep, with distinctly rounded culmen. Male breeding has clean-cut black cap... read more


Vocalizations not well studied to date, but no differences have been identified between this... read more


Open cerrado, savannas, tall-grass (old) grasslands and lightly grazed pastures; sea-level... read more

Food and feeding

Diet of grass seeds. Forages usually by clinging to grass stem and extracting seeds, much less frequently on ground. Generally in pairs... read more


Birds in breeding condition in late Jan in Rio Grande do Sul (extreme S Brazil). A recent study conducted between Nov and Mar in two areas... read more


Resident in most of range. Migratory in S part of range; many or most of those in Argentina,... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally fairly common over most of range. Has large range and is relatively numerous. Much of this species’ habitat is being burnt... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Pearly-bellied Seedeater (Sporophila pileata). 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 21 February 2020).