Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Plumbeous Seedeater (Sporophila plumbea)


French: Sporophile gris-de-plomb German: Grauspelzer Spanish: Semillero plomizo

Fringilla plumbea


, 1830,

Campo Geral of inner Brazil = boundary between Bahia and Minas Gerais, eastern Brazil


Yellow-billed birds in extreme S part of the breeding range of this species have now been assigned to a new species, S. beltoni (which see). Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. p. colombiana (Sharpe, 1888) – S Chocó, lower Magdalena Valley and Santa Marta Mts, in N Colombia.
  • S. p. whiteleyana (Sharpe, 1888) – NW, N & C Venezuela (Sierra de Perijá; Carabobo and Aragua; Bolívar and W Amazonas), llanos of E Colombia, the Guianas, and N Brazil (Roraima, and Amapá E to mouth of R Amazon).
  • S. p. plumbea (Wied, 1830) – extreme SE Peru (Pampas del Heath), N Bolivia (Pando, Beni, Santa Cruz and La Paz), Brazil S of Amazon (SE Amazonas and Mato Grosso E to Piauí and C Bahia, S to Paraná and N Rio Grande do Sul), E Paraguay and NE Argentina (Misiones).
  • Descriptive notes

    10·5–11 cm; 8·8–12 g. Tiny passerine with thick bill approximately as long as it is deep, with distinctly rounded culmen. Male nominate race is lead-grey above, pale lower... read more


    Sweet song like that of a canary (Serinus) or siskin (Carduelis), two whistles... read more


    Wet savanna and moist tropical grasslands; requires tall grass, and usually found near water or... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds largely on grass seed heads; seeds of Andropogon grasses recorded in diet. Forages on ground or while perched on grass stems... read more


    No information.


    Little known; possibly migratory in S part of range, as it disappears from those sites in austral... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly numerous, but local and patchy in distribution. Rare in Peru and at most seasonally or locally common in Bolivia (where also... read more

    Recommended citation

    Jaramillo, A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Plumbeous Seedeater (Sporophila plumbea). 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).