Black-headed Saltator Saltator atriceps

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

Sounds and Vocal Behavior


Black-headed Saltator generally is loud and noisy.

The song is described as "loud, scratchy notes ending with a prolonged, upwardly inflected whistle: cher ch-ch cher jur jur weeeee", which is given as the bird bows deeply and turns from side to side (Stiles and Skutch 1989); as "sharp, nasal notes run into a gruff, accelerating, rolling laugh or chortling chatter, [that] may suggest [the song of] Barred Antshrike [Thamnophilus doliatus]" (Howell and Webb 1995); and as "explosive chips, chatters, and squawks ending in a rapid-fire, nasal rattle; usually preceded by several harsh call notes" (Jones 2004). Black-headed Saltator often duets (Stiles and Skutch 1989) or may form choruses with several birds singing (Jones 2004).

Black-headed Saltator also has a dawn song, described as a high, thin tseety, tseety-tseety-tseety-tseety", given from an open perch 3-10 m above the ground (Wetmore et al. 1984). Reportedly also has a flight-song, although this behavior, and the song, has not been described in detail (Sutton 1951).

Calls of Black-headed Saltator are "sharp, loud, raucous, and parrotlike" (Stiles and Skutch 1989) and include "a single descending deeuh or deeer" (Stiles and Skutch 1989) and "sharp, smacking barks, chowk! or cheuk!, etc., [and] a sharp yah! or chehh!, repeated" (Howell and Webb 1995).

Additional audio recordings of vocalizations of Black-headed Saltator can be heard at Macaulay Library and at xeno-canto.

Nonvocal Sounds

None reported.

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.