Paramo Seedeater Catamenia homochroa

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thraupidae
  • Polytypic: 3 subspecies
  • Authors: Thomas S. Schulenberg and Alvaro Jaramillo

There are three species of Catamenia seedeaters, all in fact tanager-finches rather than Emberizid sparrows based on recent molecular data. Of the three the Paramo Seedeater is the least common and most difficult to see. It is found at or below tree-line in most Andean scrub and edge of humid montane ("cloud") forest. It does not appear to be an obligate bamboo species, but is strongly associated with bamboo in the genus Chusquea, unlike its two Catamenia relatives. In this habitat it is often part of mixed-species foraging flocks. There are three populations of the Paramo Seedeater, one along the Andes, another in the Santa Marta Mountains of northern Colombia, and the third in the Tepui region of Venezuela and adjacent Brazil. Species level taxonomy has been stable in Catamenia, but the more we find out about them, the more that it is likely that cryptic species are present. For example in the Paramo Seedeater the three populations may warrant elevation as species. They are visually different, have different behavior and habitat needs as well. The Tepui form does not require bamboo at all, and is found in much more open shrubby habitats. Vocally the Tepui form sings a simple low frequency whistle, while the Andean forms sing much buzzier trilling whistles.


© Paul Coopmans

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

Recommended Citation

Schulenberg, T. S. and A. Jaramillo (2012). Paramo Seedeater (Catamenia homochroa), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.