Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

White-collared Seedeater (Sporophila morelleti)


French: Sporophile de Morelet German: Schwarzbrustspelzer Spanish: Semillero cuelliblanco

Spermophila morelleti


, 1850,

Guatemala = Petén


Usually considered conspecific with S. torqueola, but differs in its double white wingbars (3); all-grey or white-edged grey vs broad cinnamon rump (3); either broad black breastband or no breastband vs narrow black breastband (2); paler (whitish to whitish-buff) underparts (ns[1]). Separation of race sharpei proposed#R, but this form highly variable, with many intermediates with nominate. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. m. sharpei Lawrence, 1889 – Sharpe's Seedeater – extreme S USA (lower Rio Grande Valley, in S Texas) and NE Mexico (Nuevo León and Tamaulipas S through E San Luis Potosí to N Veracruz).
  • S. m. morelleti (Bonaparte, 1850) – White-collared Seedeater – E Mexico (N Veracruz) S on Caribbean slope (including Mujeres I, off NE Quintana Roo), and on Pacific slope from El Salvador, to extreme W Panama.
  • S. m. mutanda Griscom, 1930 – S Mexico (S Chiapas) S to El Salvador.
  • Descriptive notes

    9·5–11·2 cm; 6·3–12 g. Small to tiny seedeater. Male breeding nominate race has head and side of face black, contrasting white crescent below eye, full white collar across... read more


    Song high-pitched and canary-like, a clear “sweet sweet sweet cheer cheer cheer chee swee swee r r... read more


    Open grassy areas, often near water or in floodplains: pastures, roadsides, weedy fields, moist... read more

    Food and feeding

    Eats mainly grass seeds, insects and spiders, augmented with occasional berries. Will jump into air to catch flying insects. Usually in... read more


    Commences in late Mar/Apr and continues into summer in S Texas; begins in Apr in N Central America. Nest built by female, taking 5–6 days,... read more


    Considered to be sedentary, although northern populations of S USA and N Mexico may withdraw... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common to fairly common; abundant in many parts of its range. In extreme N of range, in S Texas, populations have declined steeply... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). White-collared Seedeater (Sporophila morelleti). 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).