Family New World Blackbirds (Icteridae)


Saffron-cowled Blackbird (Xanthopsar flavus)


French: Carouge safran German: Goldstärling Spanish: Tordo amarillo

O[riolus]. flavus

J. F. Gmelin

, 1788,

“in Antigua insulae Panay et America australi” = Río de la Plata, Argentina and Uruguay


Form Icterus xantholemus, based on a single specimen from S Brazil but erroneously published as from Ecuador, has been shown to be a synonym of present species. Monotypic.


SE Paraguay and SE Brazil (from Santa Catarina) S to NE Argentina (Corrientes and Entre Ríos) and Uruguay; formerly widespread.

Descriptive notes

Male average 20 cm, 42·5 g; female average 39·3 g. Male has hindcrown to back, wing and tail glossy black; rest of head and entire underparts yellow, tinged... read more


Song, by both sexes, brief and unmusical, starts with short whistled or warbled notes, ends with... read more


Wet grassland, bogs and marshes, usually in open environments. In treeless areas in Argentinian... read more

Food and feeding

Insects, spiders (Araneae), small vertebrates (frogs); rarely, seeds (including some cultivated plants). Faecal analyses indicate that... read more


Season Oct–Dec, breeding activities in colony usually synchronized; apparently single-brooded. Nests solitarily or in small colonies... read more


Resident, although subject to some local movements.

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Rare to locally uncommon; declining. Range was once larger, but species possibly not common or widespread even in 19th century. In 1800s, range extended from S... read more

Recommended citation

Fraga, R. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Saffron-cowled Blackbird (Xanthopsar flavus). 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 25 January 2020).