Common Diuca-Finch Diuca diuca

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thraupidae
  • Polytypic: 4 subspecies
  • Authors: Megan Cookson, Casey H. Richart, and Kevin J. Burns


Geographic Variation

Four subspecies are recognized for Diuca diuca (Paynter 1970, Jaramillo 2011, Clements et al. 2014, Dickinson and Christidis 2014):

crassirostris, described as Diuca diuca crassirostris Hellmayr 1932; type locality Ramadilla, Capiapó Valley, Atacama, Chile (Paynter 1970).

Subspecies crassirostris occurs in northern Chile (Antofagasta south to Coquimbo), southern Bolivia (southeastern Potosí, western Chuquisaca, and western Tarija), and northwestern Argentina (Jujuy and Salta south to La Rioja) n southeast and northern Argentina (Bullock 1940, Jaramillo 2011, Herzog et al. 2016). This is the largest of the subspecies, with a larger and thicker bill. The outer web of the outermost tail feather is totally white (Jaramillo 2011).

diuca, described as Fringilla diuca (Molina 1782); type locality "Chile".

The nominate subspecies occurs in central Chile from Coquimbo south to Aysén, and in central Argentina from Mendoza to Santa Cruz. See Detailed Description.

minor, described as Diuca minor Bonaparte 1850; type locality Patagonia, restricted to Río Negro by Hellmayr (1938: 339).

Subspecies minor breeds in Argentina from Córdoba south to Santa Cruz, and in southern Chile in northern Magallanes (Bullock 1940). It is at least partially migratory, dispersing in the nonbreeding season north and east to northern Argentina in Tucumán, Santiago del Estero, and Entre Rios, to Uruguay (Paysandu) in Uruguay, and to southern Brazil (western Rio Grande do Sul) (Belton 1985, Ridgely and Tudor 1989).

This is the smallest of the subspecies. It has a brownish tinge on the back, resembling a female or a juvenile (Jaramillo 2011).

chiloensis, described as Diuca diuca chiloensis Philippi and Peña 1964; type locality eastern central coast of Isla Grande de Chiloé, Chile (Paynter 1970).

Subspecies chiloensis is only known from the type locality. This subspecies is smaller than nominate diuca, and has more saturated coloration (Jaramillo 2011).

Related Species

Until recently, Common Diuca-Finch was classified in the family Emberizidae family (buntings and New World sparrows) and was considered congeneric with White-winged Diuca-Finch (formerly Diuca speculifera, now Idiopsar speculifer) (e.g., Paynter 1970). Morphological differences, in addition to voice and locomotion, suggested that these two species are not closely related (Jaramillo 2011). Recent molecular phylogenetics confirms this. Both species of diuca-finch properly belong within the Thraupidae (tanagers). These two species, however, were recovered as belonging to different subfamilies of tanagers, with I. speculifer belonging to the Diglossinae and D. diuca belonging to the Thraupinae (Burns et al. 2014). Within the Thraupinae, Diuca diuca is sister to Yellow Cardinal (Gubernatrix cristata) (Campagna et al. 2011, Barker et al. 2013, Burns et al. 2014). These two species in fact also have hybridized in the wild (Bertonatti and Guerra 1997). The clade containing G. cristata and D. diuca is sister to the White-banded Tanager (Neothraupis fasciata) (Burns et al. 2014). Diuca diuca is recovered in a clade of tanagers whose early-diverging members (e.g., Bangsia, Wetmorethraupis, and Chlorochrysa) are largely restricted to the Andes, whereas more nested genera (e.g., Lophospingus, Neothraupis, and Paroaria) have ranges southeast of the Andes (Sedano and Burns 2010, Burns et al. 2014). This may suggest that an ecological speciation event along the branch leading to the southern taxa allowed for the radiation of this group. Molecular sequence divergence among the Diuca diuca subspecies has not been analyzed.

Recommended Citation

Cookson, M., C. H. Richart, and K. J. Burns (2018). Common Diuca-Finch (Diuca diuca), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.