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Lesser antillean bird2 1 male.jpg
Black-faced grassquit (Tiaris bicolor)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Thraupidae
Genus: Tiaris
Swainson, 1827

5, but see text

Tiaris is a genus of songbirds in the tanager family (Thraupidae), containing the bulk of the grassquits.

The genus was introduced by the English naturalist William John Swainson in 1827. The type species is the yellow-faced grassquit.[1][2] The name is from the Ancient Greek word tiara for "head-dress".[3]

The genus contains the following species:[4]

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
Tiaris canorus -Canberra Walk In Aviary, Australia-8a.jpg Tiaris canorus Cuban grassquit Bahamas, Cuba, and Turks and Caicos Islands
CIGARRA-DO-COQUEIRO (Tiaris fuliginosus).jpg Tiaris fuliginosus Sooty grassquit Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Guyana, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela
Dull-colored Grassquit (Tiaris obscurus) (cropped).jpg Tiaris obscurus Dull-coloured grassquit Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and western Venezuela.
Yellow-faced-grassquit-eating-seeds.jpg Tiaris olivaceus Yellow-faced grassquit central Mexico to northern Ecuador and north-western Venezuela
Black-faced grassquit (Tiaris bicolor) male.jpg Tiaris bicolor Black-faced grassquit West Indies except Cuba, on Tobago but not Trinidad, and along the northern coasts of Colombia and Venezuela.

However, these might not be monophyletic relatives, and warrant the splitting off of some species or merging this genus in another. Phylogenetic studies have hitherto failed to place this genus firmly with respect to a large number of species in the group called "Tholospiza", which typically build nests covered by a dome of material. This group consists of radiations out of Central America, into the Caribbean and into the Pacific. The latter group of these American sparrow-like tanagers are the famous Darwin's finches (including the Cocos finch, Pinaroloxias inornata). The former group includes the Caribbean bullfinches (Loxigilla), the Saint Lucia black finch (Melanospiza richardsoni), the yellow-shouldered grassquit (Loxipasser anoxanthus) – though not the blue-black grassquit (Volatinia jacarina) –, and probably other Caribbean genera too (e.g. orangequit, Euneornis campestris and the puzzling bananaquit, Coereba flaveola).[5]


  1. ^ Swainson, William (1827). "A synopsis of the birds discovered in Mexico by W. Bullock F.L.S. and H.S., and William Bullock, jun". Philosophical Magazine. 2nd Series. 1: 433-442 [438].
  2. ^ Swainson, William (1828). "On several groups and forms in ornithology, not hitherto defined". Zoological Journal. 3 (11): 343-363 [351].
  3. ^ Jobling, J.A. (2018). del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J.; Christie, D.A.; de Juana, E. (eds.). "Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  4. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2018). "Tanagers and allies". World Bird List Version 8.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  5. ^ Burns et al. (2003), Jønsson & Fjeldså (2006), Klicka et al. (2007)