Family New World Sparrows (Passerellidae)

Least Concern

Sooty-capped Bush-tanager (Chlorospingus pileatus)


French: Chlorospin à sourcils brisés German: Weißbrauen-Grünammer Spanish: Clorospingo cejiblanco
Other common names: Sooty-capped Tanager-finch, Sooty-capped Chlorospingus

Chlorospingus pileatus


, 1865,

Volcán Irazú, Costa Rica


The form “zeledoni”, originally described as a separate species, now considered to be only a colour morph of present species; known only from Volcán Irazú and Volcán Turrialba, in Costa Rica. Birds from Cerro Flores, in E Chiriquí (Panama), supposedly with yellower underparts and whiter central abdomen, described as race diversus, but appear inseparable from those in rest of species’ range. Monotypic.


Mountains from C Costa Rica S to W Panama (E to Ngäbe-Buglé).

Descriptive notes

14 cm; 16–24·1 g. Distinctive bush-tanager with head boldly striped black and white. Head is sooty black, with broad white lateral crownstripe beginning just in... read more


Calls include high, thin, lisping “tsit” notes, sometimes in continuous stream or... read more


Mossy humid and wet montane and elfin forest and tall second growth, occasionally patches of... read more

Food and feeding

Small arthropods; fruits, especially Miconia, Fuchsia, blackberries (Rubus) and Ericaceae. Found in pairs or in... read more


Season reported as Feb–Jul in Costa Rica. Defends a breeding territory. Possibly sometimes a co-operative breeder, several adults... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Costa Rica and Panama Highlands EBA. Common above c. 2000 m; fairly common down to 1600 m locally, e.g.... read more

Recommended citation

Hilty, S. (2020). Sooty-capped Bush-tanager (Chlorospingus pileatus). 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 24 February 2020).