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Sporophila nuttingi

Nicaraguan Seed-Finch

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thraupidae
  • Monotypic

Authors: Schulenberg, Thomas S

Sporophila nuttingi

Boca Tapada, San Carlos, Alajuela, Costa Rica; 19 June 2014 © Jorge Eduardo Chinchilla Arroyo

Nicaraguan Seed-Finch is uncommon and local in its range on the Caribbean slope of Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and western Panama. They occur in moist grassy areas, particularly near water and marshes. This is one species that is suspected of benefiting from deforestation, as its geographic distribution seems to have expanded in recent decades, following increased deforestation in Costa Rica. Given that it no longer is confined to Nicaragua, this species sometimes is given the name "Pink-billed Seed-Finch". In the breeding season, they are generally encountered as pairs, but seed-finches join mixed finch flocks during the nonbreeding season. As is typical of seed-finches, this has species has a distinctively massive bill, which is pale pink in the males and dark gray in the females. Also note the large overall size, the males’ solidly black plumage, and and the dark chestnut brown tones of females. The nest is a loose cup made low in sedge, grasses, or shrubbery. The song of Nicaraguan Seed-Finch is a rapid, squeaky series of whistles and chirps.

Recommended Citation

Schulenberg, Thomas S. 2015. Nicaraguan Seed-Finch (Sporophila nuttingi), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

This map is based on the maps available from the NatureServe InfoNatura website. The data for these maps are provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE.

  • Migration/Movement:Resident (nonmigratory)
  • Primary Habitat:Freshwater marshes
  • Foraging Strata:Undescribed
  • Foraging Behavior:Undescribed
  • Diet:Seeds
  • Sociality:Solitary/Pairs
  • Mating System:Monogamy
  • Nest Form:Cup
  • Clutch: 2 - 2
  • IUCN Status:Least Concern