Family New World Sparrows (Passerellidae)

Least Concern

Saffron-billed Sparrow (Arremon flavirostris)


French: Tohi à bec jaune German: Gelbschnabel-Buschammer Spanish: Cerquero piquiamarillo

Arremon flavirostris


, 1838,

Brazil = vicinity of Salvador, Bahia


Closely related to A. taciturnus, A. aurantiirostris, A. abeillei and A. schlegeli, being sister to the last-mentioned#R. Proposed race devillii (type locality unknown, but perhaps from Goiás, C Brazil) is synonymized with polionotus#R. Other races are reasonably well separated and have been proposed as phylogenetic species#R; the Andean race dorbignii is the most distinctive vocally#R and a more detailed review may well result in its acceptance as a biological species (perhaps also polionotus). Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. f. dorbignii P. L. Sclater, 1856 – Stripe-crowned Sparrow – W, C & S Bolivia (La Paz, Cochabamba, W Santa Cruz, Chuquisaca and Tarija) and NW Argentina (Jujuy and Salta S to Catamarca).
  • A. f. flavirostris Swainson, 1838 – Saffron-billed Sparrow – C & E Brazil (extreme E Mato Grosso do Sul E to S Goiás, Bahia, W Minas Gerais and N & C São Paulo).
  • A. f. polionotus Bonaparte, 1850 – Grey-backed Sparrow – E Bolivia (E Santa Cruz), C & S Brazil (C & S Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul E to W Goiás, W São Paulo and N & W Paraná), Paraguay and NE Argentina (Misiones, Corrientes, E Formosa and E Chaco).
  • Descriptive notes

    15–16·5 cm; 20–33 g. A stocky, long-billed and short-tailed sparrow. Male nominate race has head black, bold white supercilium from above eye back to nape... read more


    Song, from ground or low perch, a series of high-pitched hissing notes, “tsit, tsee-tsi-tsi,... read more


    Undergrowth of deciduous woodland, as well as thickets at edge of moist tropical forest; in... read more

    Food and feeding

    No information on diet. Forages terrestrially, usually hidden in understorey but may come into the open at edge of shrubbery. Singly and in... read more


    Nest a large cup made from dry grasses and vegetation, placed on ground. Clutch 3 eggs, in Argentina light buff or bluish-grey with... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon to locally common. Has large range, within which it appears to be a generalist of forest and forest-edge habitat. No evidence of any decline... read more

    Recommended citation

    Jaramillo, A. (2020). Saffron-billed Sparrow (Arremon flavirostris). 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 23 February 2020).