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Black-faced Grassquit Tiaris bicolor


Black-faced Grassquit is a small passerine (ca 10 g) that is found mainly in the Caribbean, north to the Bahamas, and south to northernmost South America, particularly in coastal sites. It is also found on Tobago, but not Trinidad. The male has a black face, throat, breast and belly that contrasts with a grass-green back; older males may have more extensive black. The female is dull brown and lacks field marks. This grassquit has a relatively rounded body, a short tail, and a thick but very short bill. It specializes in eating grass seeds, and often forages in grassy lawns and fields. On smaller and lighter grasses, they may bend the seed head to the ground and forage on it in that manner. This niche of feeding on grass seed while still on the stems also is used by Sporophila seedeaters, and in the Old World by various Lonchura mannikins. Black-faced Grassquit belongs to a group of seed-eating tanagers that are closely related to Darwin's finches of the Galapagos Islands. Interestingly enough some Black-faced Grassquits feed on cactus fruit in the Netherland Antilles, as do the cactus-finches on the Galapagos.

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© Paul A. Schwartz

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Recommended Citation

Black-faced Grassquit (Tiaris bicolor), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: