Black-faced Grassquit Tiaris bicolor


The Black-faced Grassquit is a small passerine (~10g) 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 in Tobago, but not Trinidad. The male has a black face, throat, breast and belly that contrasts with a grass-green back. Older males will have more extensive black coverage. The female is dull brown and lacks field marks. These grassquits have relatively rounded bodies, short tails, and thick but very short and small looking bills. They specialize in eating grass seeds and can be found foraging 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 is also used by Sporophila seedeaters, and in the Old World by various Lonchura mannikins. The Tiaris grassquits are in the Thraupidae family, which includes the Darwin’s Finches. Black-faced Grassquit may be one of the six progenitors of the Darwin's finches in the Galapagos. 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

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

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: