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Pearly-bellied Seedeater - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Francisco Paludo
Sao Roque de Minas, MG, Brazil, February 2016
Sporophila pileata


10 cm (4 in)
Breeding plumage male has a black cap from bill, just below eye, and to nape, and also mostly black wings (with white speculum) and tail, and bill is black in breeding plumage. Underside is light grey, pinkish grey to pale yellowish brown, and upperside dark greyish brown to light reddish brown. Non-breeding male and subadult male has yellowish bill and more resembles female in color for example lacking dark cap.
Female buffish-brown lacking the black cap and wings, with paler underside than upperside, and with yellowish bill.
The male may breed in a female-like plumage except for color of bill; this may be more frequent in younger males.

Photo by Francisco Paludo
Canyon State Park Guartelá, Tibagi, PR, Brazil, January 2017

Similar species

Very similar to Copper Seedeater: females and younger males are likely not separable, while adult male in breeding plumage is consistently paler in Pearly-bellied Seedeater than in Copper Seedeater.


Eastern Paraguay to north-eastern Argentina (Corrientes and Misiones), southern Brazil (SW Minas Gerais and Mato Grosso). Also locally to N Uruguay. Has also been recorded in Bolivia (Santa Cruz). Ranges of Pearly-bellied Seedeater and Copper Seedeater overlap in parts of Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais states.


This is a monotypic species.
It was formerly included in Capped Seedeater, together with Copper Seedeater; there are areas of overlap between these two species.


Sea level to 1100 m. Relatively open areas in cerrado, campo, and southern grassland. It seems to prefer areas with tall grasses over grazed areas with shorter grasses.



The diet consists almost entirely of grass seeds. The birds cling to the grass stem while extracting the seeds. They usually forage in pairs during the breeding season and sometimes in small flocks the rest of the year.


No information on breeding available.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Ridgely and Tudor 2009. Field guide to the songbirds of South America - The Passerines. University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0-292-71979-8
  3. Ber van Perlo. 2009. A field guide to the Birds of Brazil. Oxford University Press, New York, NY, USA. ISBN 978-0-19-530155-7
  4. Birdforum thread discussing the taxonomy of this species
  5. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved July 2017)
  6. Wikipedia
  7. Paper describing habitat of grassland species in southern Brazil

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.