Great-billed Seed-Finch Sporophila maximiliani


This seed-finch is has a disjunct distribution with populations in N Venezuela, and Trinidad as well as in the region bordering the mouth of the Amazon River, and finally in East-Central Brazil. This seed-finch has an enormous bill, such that it looks to engulf the entire head, leaving no room for a forehead and therefore appearing as if the base of the culmen comes out of the crown! The bill is also wide, and clearly designed for cracking thick or hard foods, but what that is exactly still needs to be determined. The bill of this seed-finch is ivory-white, although the texture of the bill is not smooth and often looks to have fissures or ridges on it. The males are entirely black, save for the white primary bases (the white ‘handkerchief”) as well as white wing linings, although these are not visible while the bird is perched. The males perform a wing raise display to show the hidden white under wings to the female during the breeding season. The female is entirely warm brown in coloration, lacking obvious features other than the big bill. Males give a rapid and beautiful flute-like song.

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  • Year-round
  • Migration
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Recommended Citation

Great-billed Seed-Finch (Sporophila maximiliani), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: