Variable Seedeater (Sporophila corvina)

male Variable Seedeater

male Variable Seedeater

The Variable Seedeater (Sporophila corvina) is a small passerine bird occurring from southern Mexico through Central America up to northwestern South America (including parts of Colombia, Ecuador, and northern Peru). The taxonomy of this species is highly complicated due to comparatively large variations in plumage. Sometimes, it is merged with the Wing-barred Seedeater (Sporophila americana) and discussions on the status of a number of subspecies are still on-going. I photographed the birds on the Pacific side of Panama (on Naos Island near Panama City), where the males have a grey to whitish rump and a white collar, but along the nearby coast of the Caribbean, they are almost entirely black! Females are in general olive-brown and show less variation. The birds are relatively common in semi-open areas such as forest edges or clearings, gardens, and parks. True to their name, they feed mostly on seeds, but also take the occasional flower, bud, berry or insect.

male Variable Seedeater

male Variable Seedeater

female Variable Seedeater

female Variable Seedeater

female Variable Seedeater

female Variable Seedeater

being inquisitive

being inquisitive

feeding on grass seeds

feeding on grass seeds

6 responses to “Variable Seedeater (Sporophila corvina)

  1. I got to see both the Pacific and Caribbean ones in Costa Rica this past March. Really an understated bird – they might be “only” black and white, but they are really beautiful!!!

    • thanks for your comment! I really enjoyed watching the male hopping around looking for seeds… he even seemed to be curious regarding me from time to time!

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