Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Yellow-faced Grassquit (Tiaris olivaceus)


French: Tiaris grand-chanteur German: Goldbrauen-Gimpeltangare Spanish: Semillero tomeguín

Emberiza olivacea


, 1766,

Dominica = Hispaniola


Proposed race coryi (described from Cayman Brac, in Cayman Is) is synonymized with nominate. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. o. pusillus Swainson, 1827 – Atlantic slope of Mexico S locally through Central America to Colombia (W of E Andes, excluding Santa Marta region) and NW & E Ecuador, and W Venezuela (SW Mérida and Táchira).
  • T. o. intermedius (Ridgway, 1885) – Cozumel I (off Quintana Roo), in E Mexico.
  • T. o. ravidus Wetmore, 1957 – Coiba I (off S Veraguas), in W Panama.
  • T. o. olivaceus (Linnaeus, 1766) – Cuba, I of Pines, Cayman Is, Jamaica and Hispaniola.
  • T. o. bryanti (Ridgway, 1898) – Puerto Rico and neighbouring islands.
  • Introduced (pusillus) on Hawaiian Is.

    Descriptive notes

    9·3–11·5 cm; 6–10 g. Small and short-tailed. Male is olive above, including upperwing and tail; prominent deep orange-yellow supercilium from above... read more


    Song, delivered from a low perch, mostly during wet season (singing commences when rains begin), is... read more


    Moist pastures, thickets, clearings, roadsides, and shrubby fields with scattered shrubs and trees... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on seeds of grasses (Paspalum, Panicum), and sometimes takes insects and berries; also picks tiny white protein... read more


    Season Apr–Jan (most commonly May–Aug), Jan on Coiba I (race ravidus) and probably Mar in El Salvador; throughout year... read more


    Generally sedentary. In S USA, nominate race casual in Florida and pusillus vagrant in S... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Very common in appropriate habitat. Has wide range, in which no significant threats identified.

    Recommended citation

    Rising, J. (2018). Yellow-faced Grassquit (Tiaris olivaceus). 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 23 March 2018).