Family Cardinals (Cardinalidae)

Least Concern

Ultramarine Grosbeak (Cyanoloxia brissonii)


French: Évêque de Brisson German: Ultramarinkardinal Spanish: Picogrueso de Brisson

Fringilla brissonii

M. H. C. Lichtenstein

, 1823,

Bahia, Brazil


Wild-bred hybrids with Sporophila caerulescens, to which it is not closely related, have been reported in Brazil. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. b. caucae (Chapman, 1912) – SW Colombia in valleys of upper R Patía, R Cauca and R Dagua.
  • C. b. minor (Cabanis, 1861) – mountains of N Venezuela (from Falcón and Lara E to Sucre and Monagas).
  • C. b. argentina (Sharpe, 1888) – E Bolivia (La Paz S to Tarija and Santa Cruz), S Brazil (W Mato Grosso), Chaco of Paraguay, and N Argentina (S to La Rioja, San Luis, Córdoba and N Buenos Aires).
  • C. b. brissonii (M. H. C. Lichtenstein, 1823) – NE Brazil from Piauí and Ceará S to Bahia.
  • C. b. sterea (Oberholser, 1901) – E & S Brazil (from SE Mato Grosso, Goiás, Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo S to Rio Grande do Sul), E Paraguay, NE Argentina (Misiones and Corrientes) and Uruguay.
  • Descriptive notes

    15 cm; 27–28 g. Male nominate race has forehead, supercilium and cheek bright sky-blue, crown, nape and upperparts darker deep rich blue; shoulder patch bright medium-... read more


    Song (in Venezuela) a rich series of rising and falling warbles, “we-se-weep wee so weep wee... read more


    Thickets and other dense vegetation, also edges of chaco. In Venezuela and Colombia in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Few published data on diet, but has been recorded feeding on flowers of Zornia dipylla (Leguminosae) in NE Brazil. Usually found... read more


    Little information published, all of it referring to race argentina. Nest with eggs in mid Dec. One nest was a cup of vegetable... read more


    Sedentary over most or all of range.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Quite common in many parts of range. Popular as a cagebird.

    Recommended citation

    Brewer, D. (2019). Ultramarine Grosbeak (Cyanoloxia brissonii). 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 20 June 2019).