Black-faced grassquit

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Black-faced grassquit
Black-faced grassquit (Tiaris bicolor) male.jpg
male, Jamaica
Black-faced grassquit (Tiaris bicolor) female.jpg
female, Jamaica
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Thraupidae
Genus: Tiaris
Species: T. bicolor
Binomial name
Tiaris bicolor
(Linnaeus, 1766)
  • Fringilla bicolor Linnaeus, 1766
  • Melanospiza bicolor (Linnaeus, 1766)
An adult female

The black-faced grassquit (Tiaris bicolor) is a small bird. It is recognized as a tanager closely related to Darwins finches. It breeds in the West Indies except Cuba, on Tobago but not Trinidad, and along the northern coasts of Colombia and Venezuela.

This is a common bird in long grass or scrub in open or semi-open areas, including roadsides and ricefields. It makes a domed grass nest, lined with finer grasses, and placed low in a bush or on a bank. The typical clutch is two or three whitish eggs blotched with reddish brown. Both sexes build the nest and feed the young.

Adult black-faced grassquits are 10.2 cm long and weigh 10.5 g. They have a short conical black bill with an obvious curve to the culmen. The male is olive green above, paler grey-olive below, and has a black head and breast. Female and immature birds have dull olive-grey upperparts and head, and paler grey underparts becoming whiter on the belly.

Males on the South American mainland have more extensively black underparts, shading to a grey belly.

The black-faced grassquit feeds mainly on seeds, especially of grasses and weeds. It is often found in small groups, but is solitary at evening roosts.

The male has a display flight in which he flies for short distances, vibrating his wings and giving a buzzing dik-zeezeezee call.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Melanospiza bicolor". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  • French, Richard (1991). A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago (2nd ed.). Comstock Publishing. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2.
  • Hilty, Steven L. (2003). Birds of Venezuela. London: Christopher Helm. ISBN 0-7136-6418-5.

External links[edit]