Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

White-bellied Seedeater (Sporophila leucoptera)


French: Sporophile à ventre blanc German: Zweifarbenspelzer Spanish: Semillero ventriblanco

Coccothraustes leucoptera


, 1817,



Bolivian race bicolor differs in being black vs grey on head, back and tail in male (3); song generally very similar, but perhaps with more complex variations#R. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. l. bicolor (d’Orbigny & Lafresnaye, 1837) – Bicolored Seedeater – extreme SE Peru (Puno) and N & E Bolivia (La Paz, Beni and W & E Santa Cruz).
  • S. l. mexianae Hellmayr, 1912 – S Suriname (Sipaliwini) and S Amapá and NE Pará (Mexiana I), at mouth of R Amazon, in Brazil.
  • S. l. leucoptera (Vieillot, 1817) – Grey-backed Seedeater – C & S Brazil (Goiás and Minas Gerais S to Mato Grosso) S through Paraguay to N Argentina (Formosa, Chaco and Santa Fe).
  • S. l. cinereola (Temminck, 1820) – E Brazil (C Maranhão E to Paraíba, S to Rio de Janeiro).
  • Descriptive notes

    12–12·5 cm; 15–16 g. A comparatively large seedeater with relatively long tail and deep, very short, rounded bill, giving “pushed-in” look to... read more


    Song of nominate race a repeated loud, ringing note, “cleeuu cleeuu cleeuu cleeuu cleeuu... read more


    Shrubby thickets, also secondary-forest edge adjacent to patches of grass; always near water,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Seeds of grasses and other plants appear to be primary food; some insects eaten. In São Paulo (Brazil) young fed with seeds of the... read more


    Season late Nov/Dec to mid-Feb in E Brazil. Nest cup-shaped, built from thin grass roots and spider silk, thin walls allowing contents to... read more


    Not well studied. Considered mostly sedentary. In Santa Cruz (Bolivia) not present in all months,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Tends to be relatively uncommon. Has large range, and believed not to be at immediate risk. Many local populations have been extirpated because of... read more

    Recommended citation

    Jaramillo, A. (2019). White-bellied Seedeater (Sporophila leucoptera). 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 9 December 2019).