Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Rusty Flowerpiercer (Diglossa sittoides)


French: Percefleur rouilleux German: Rostbauch-Hakenschnabel Spanish: Pinchaflor ferrugíneo

Serrirostrum sittoides

d’Orbigny and Lafresnaye

, 1838,

Valle Grande, Bolivia


Closely related to and formerly considered conspecific with D. baritula and D. plumbea, genetic data suggesting that the three form a monophyletic group. Considerable variation occurs within as well as among races; revision awaited. Six subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • D. s. hyperythra Cabanis, 1851 – N Colombia (Santa Marta Mts) and N Venezuela (cordillera from Carabobo E to Miranda).
  • D. s. coelestis Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1953 – extreme W Venezuela in Sierra de Perijá.
  • D. s. mandeli Blake, 1940 – Mt Turumiquire, in extreme NE Venezuela (Sucre).
  • D. s. dorbignyi (Boissonneau, 1840) – Andes of Venezuela (Lara S to Táchira) and Colombia (E slope of W Andes and both slopes of C & E ranges).
  • D. s. decorata J. T. Zimmer, 1930 – Andes of Ecuador and Peru S on both slopes to Bolivia.
  • D. s. sittoides (d’Orbigny & Lafresnaye, 1838) – Bolivia and NW Argentina (S to Tucumán).
  • Descriptive notes

    11 cm; 7–10·7 g. Small greyish-and-cinnamon flowerpiercer with slender and slightly recurved bill, upper mandible more obviously upturned than lower mandible, upper mandible... read more


    Call a sharp “cheek”. Song, usually from conspicuous perch on shrub or bush (occasionally a little... read more


    Favours shrubby areas, overgrown pastures, forest edges, light open woodland, scrub, bushy... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food items include nectar and many small insects. Stomach contents reveal mostly insect remains. Found singly and in pairs, less often in... read more


    Fledglings reported in Sept–Feb in Bolivia; juveniles reported almost throughout year in Colombia and in Sept in NW Ecuador; a bird in... read more


    Resident. Some seasonal elevational movements likely, but poorly documented.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon to fairly common throughout extensive Andean range. Occurs in numerous protected areas, among them Henri Pittier, Guaramacal and Sierra... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hilty, S. (2020). Rusty Flowerpiercer (Diglossa sittoides). 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).