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Yellow-faced Grassquit - BirdForum Opus

Male, nominate subspecies
Photo by fishercl
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, May 2011
Tiaris olivaceus


Length: 10.0-10.7 cm; weight: 9.5-10.0 g

  • Conical bill, sharper than that of the related seedeaters

Adult male

  • Olive-green back
  • Black face and breast
  • Bright yellow throat, supercilium, and lower eyelid spot
  • Greyish-olive underparts
Subspecies pusillus
Photo by COLOMBIA birding
West Andes, Colombia, November 2010

Adult female

  • Dull olive-green upperparts
  • Paler grey underparts
  • Dark breast smudges may be visible
  • The face pattern is much weaker and duller, and may be almost invisible

Young birds: duller and greyer than the female
Young males: begin to acquire full adult plumage in their first year.


Central and South America and the Caribbean
Caribbean (West Indies): Cuba, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Hispaniola, Haiti, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico
Central America: Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama,
South America: Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador

Introduced to Hawaii.

Female, Subspecies pusillus
Photo by Stanley Jones
Road to Rincon de la Vieja towards Dos Rios, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica, November 2011



There are 5 subspecies[1]:

  • T. o. pusillus:
  • T. o. intermedius:
  • Cozumel Island and Holbox Island (off Yucatan Peninsula)
Male, Subspecies pusillus
Photo by by Stanley Jones
Alajuela Province, Costa Rica, March, 2006
  • T. o. ravidus:
  • T. o. olivaceus:
  • T. o. bryanti:

The scientific name has been spelled olivacea in the past.


Rain forest, open grassy areas, woodlands and grassland. Observed at heights around 275 meters.



They feed mainly on seeds (mostly grass), berries and some insects.


The female builds the globular nest, which is formed from stems of grass and weeds. They sometimes nest in loose colonies. The clutch consists of two or three brown-speckled white eggs, which are incubated by the female alone for 12-14 days to hatching.


Call: a weak buzzing trilled ttttt-tee
The male vibrates his wings as he sings to the female from only a few centimetres away.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Raffaele, H, J Wiley, OH Garrido, A Keith, JI Raffaele. 2003. Birds of the West Indies. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0691113197
  3. Torok, M. and K. J. Burns (2020). Yellow-faced Grassquit (Tiaris olivaceus), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.yefgra1.01

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1