Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Ruddy-breasted Seedeater (Sporophila minuta)


French: Sporophile petit-louis German: Zwergspelzer Spanish: Semillero pechirrufo

Loxia minuta


, 1758,



This species was at one time considered conspecific with S. hypoxantha, but molecular data and vocal details suggest that the two are not very closely related. See S. castaneiventris. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. m. parva (Lawrence, 1883) – arid Pacific lowlands from W Mexico (Nayarit) S to Nicaragua and extreme N Costa Rica.
  • S. m. centralis Bangs & T. E. Penard, 1918 – SW Costa Rica and Pacific slope of Panama.
  • S. m. minuta (Linnaeus, 1758) – N Colombia S to NW Ecuador, E to Venezuela, Trinidad, Tobago, the Guianas, and N Brazil (NW Amazonas, N Roraima, and Amapá S to N Pará).
  • Descriptive notes

    8·6–9·6 cm; 7–9 g. A tiny seedeater. Male nominate race has crown and face mid-grey, this colour continuing to back, which is diffusely streaked... read more


    Song simple, but sweet and plaintive, “see-seeur tee-te-e-e-e, seeeeur tse-e-e-e-e”, in... read more


    Open spaces, often on roadsides, in parks and near dwellings; in bramble (Rubus) and wild... read more

    Food and feeding

    Overall, a specialist on grass seeds; in Venezuela may feed on soft unripe seeds of Digitaria grasses. May vary diet with some... read more


    Season Jun–Aug in Central America; mainly Apr–Sept in Colombia. Monogamous. Nest a simple but coarse open cup of grasses, stiff grasses... read more


    Mostly sedentary. If grass-seed stock low, as in a period of drought or during a long dry season,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Often common or abundant in appropriate habitat in much of range; rarer and more local in Ecuador.

    Recommended citation

    Rising, J. & Jaramillo, A. (2020). Ruddy-breasted Seedeater (Sporophila minuta). 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).