Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Yellow-bellied Seedeater (Sporophila nigricollis)


French: Sporophile à ventre jaune German: Gelbbauchspelzer Spanish: Semillero ventriamarillo

Pyrrhula Nigricollis


, 1823,



Closely related to S. luctuosa and S. caerulescens#R. Proposed taxon S. melanops was thought to be a variant of present species or a hybrid between it and a congener; but see S. ruficollis. Race vivida has sometimes been listed under older name olivacea; however, despite claims to contrary#R, latter name was (correctly) replaced#R (by former) before 1961, and so is permanently invalid. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. n. nigricollis (Vieillot, 1823) – S Costa Rica and Panama to N, W & E Colombia and probably E Ecuador, E through Venezuela to Suriname, including S Lesser Antilles (Carriacou, Grenada), and Trinidad and Tobago; EC & E Brazil S to Mato Grosso and São Paulo, extreme E Bolivia (E Santa Cruz) and NE Argentina (Misiones).
  • S. n. vivida Hellmayr, 1938 – SW Colombia (Nariño) and W Ecuador.
  • S. n. inconspicua Berlepsch & Stolzmann, 1906 – Peruvian Andes S on W slope to Lambayeque and on E slope to Cuzco.
  • Descriptive notes

    8·5–10·3 cm; 8·5–11·2 g. Typical seedeater, tiny and with thick bill approximately as long as it is deep and with distinct rounded... read more


    Male song, often from tree, “seee seeuu se seeuu seeoo tsr-r-r”, somewhat like that of... read more


    Grassy areas. Found in open milpas (fields cultivated rotationally, with fallow periods of... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet almost exclusively grass seeds. Often sits on one head of grass and feeds from another, or bends seedhead to ground, where it can be... read more


    Season Jul–Sept in Panama; nesting reported throughout year, but varying regionally, in Colombia. Apparently monogamous. Nest a woven... read more


    Resident and nomadic. Dispersive or nomadic during periods of drought, when grass seeds more... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common; common on Pacific slope throughout range. Although this species is popular as a cagebird, trapping for trade seems... read more

    Recommended citation

    Rising, J., Jaramillo, A. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). Yellow-bellied Seedeater (Sporophila nigricollis). 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 22 November 2019).