Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Thick-billed Seed-finch (Sporophila funerea)


French: Sporophile à bec fort German: Dickschnabelspelzer Spanish: Semillero piquigrueso

Oryzoborus angolensis funereus

P. L. Sclater

, 1860,

Suchapam, Oaxaca, Mexico


Previously usually treated in Oryzoborus. Present species commonly treated as conspecific with S. angolensis; the two hybridize in S Colombia (upper Magdalena Valley), but apparently only to a limited extent. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. f. funerea (P. L. Sclater, 1860) – SE Mexico (S Veracruz) S in Caribbean lowlands to Nicaragua.
  • S. f. salvini (Ridgway, 1884) – S Nicaragua, Costa Rica (except extreme SW) and Caribbean coast of Panama.
  • S. f. ochrogyne Olson, 1981 – SW Costa Rica, and Pacific slope of Panama to W & N Colombia (E to Magdalena Valley and Guajira Peninsula) and extreme NW Venezuela (W shores of L Maracaibo).
  • S. f. fractor Olson, 2007 – Coiba I (off S Veraguas, Panama).
  • S. f. aethiops (P. L. Sclater, 1860) – SW Colombia (Nariño) and W Ecuador.
  • Descriptive notes

    10·7–12·5 cm; 12·8–13·9 g. Small, with large, very deep-based bill (larger than Sporophila). Male nominate race is all black... read more


    A series of sweet, slurred whistles and warbles, “techu techu chu chi techu chu chi...... read more


    Humid forest edge, grassy and shrubby fields with scattered shrubs and trees, second growth and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on grass seeds, including hard-shelled seeds of a grass in genus Olyra. Forages in dense vegetation; flicks wings and tail... read more


    Season Apr–Sept in Middle America and May–Oct in Colombia. Nest a slight cup of rootlets, fibres and grasses, lined with finer... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally fairly common; common on Coiba I, off S Panama; uncommon to rare in Mexico. Apparently increasing in numbers in Darién, Panama,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Rising, J. (2019). Thick-billed Seed-finch (Sporophila funerea). 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 May 2019).