Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)


Tropeiro Seedeater (Sporophila beltoni)


French: Sporophile de Belton German: Tropeirospelzer Spanish: Semillero arriero

Sporophila beltoni

Repenning and Fontana

, 2013,

Rio Tainas Valley, 28°52’43.2” S, 50°27’34.7” W, 708 m asl, Jaquirana, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil


Yellow-billed birds found in extreme S range of (and otherwise largely resembling) S. plumbea have been assigned to that species for the best part of two centuries, but were recently shown to represent a distinct species, differing in their yellow vs black bills (3); bluish-grey vs plumbeous-grey plumage in male (1); larger size (effect size for bill height from published data#R 2.49, score 2); distinct habitat (grasslands with greater shrub density on dry and steeply sloping terrain vs grasslands with scattered sub-shrubs associated with mesic environments near poorly drained and flatter soils (1); song like plumbea’s but with clear (whistled) introductory syllables and unique call notes#R (at least 2). Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

Araucaria forests of S Brazil (Paraná S to Rio Grande do Sul); migrates N to cerrado savannas of C Brazil (E Goiás, W & C Minas Gerais, SW Bahia)#R.

Descriptive notes

11–12·6 cm; mean 12 g (male) or 11·8 g (female). Tiny passerine with thick bill that is higher, wider and longer than that of formerly conspecific S. plumbea. Male... read more


Calls generally seem to be stronger and more melancholic than those of S. plumbea; they... read more


Breeds in grasslands with dense tall shrubs associated with Araucaria angustifolia forests... read more

Food and feeding

Apparently almost nothing published, but has been observed feeding on seeds of purple speargrass (Piptochaetium stipoides) while... read more


Season early Nov to early Mar, with most activity between the second week of Nov and late Dec; the first birds fledged in late Nov, with... read more


Long-distance migrant. Arrives in breeding areas in mid Oct and departure can start as early in... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Grassland habitat loss and intensive trapping for use as cagebirds are the primary concerns. Illegal trapping has already made the present species much rarer than... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Tropeiro Seedeater (Sporophila beltoni). 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).