Black-headed Saltator Saltator atriceps

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thraupidae
  • Polytypic: 6 subspecies
  • Authors: Anant Deshwal, Pooja Panwar, and Ragupathy Kannan

Diet and Foraging


Black-headed Saltator is omnivorous. Its diet is not known in much detail, although generally it consumes small fruit and seeds, insects, and some flowers and buds (Wetmore et al. 1984, Stiles and Skutch 1989). Fruits consumed include Bursera simaruba, Ficus cotinifolia, Ehretia tinifolia, Palicourea padifolia, and oranges (Scott and Martin 1984, Wetmore et al. 1984, Eitniear and Tapia 2000, Ornelas et al. 2004). There is one report of a Black-headed Saltator preying on a Cinnamon Hummingbird (Amazilia rutila); both birds were entangled in a mist net when encountered, and the saltator probably was captured in the net as it opportunistically attempted to prey on a hummingbird that already had been captured by the net (Komar and Thurber 2003).

Foraging Behavior

The foraging behavior of Black-headed Saltator is not described in much detail. It primarily gleans, both for fruit and for insects, which are taken from foliage (Stiles and Skutch 1989). Blossoms of a climbing pea are gleaned and then slowly manipulated in the bill, presumably aided by movements of the tongue, and cut into small pieces, which then are swallowed (Wetmore et al. 1984) . On the other hand, blossoms of Palicourea padifolia (Rubiaceae) are "gobbled ... entirely" (Contreras and Ornelas 1999).

Recommended Citation

Deshwal, A., P. Panwar, and R. Kannan (2019). Black-headed Saltator (Saltator atriceps), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.