Black-faced Grassquits

Male Black-faced Grassquit, Tiaris bicolor

The Black-faced Grassquit, Tiaris bicolor, is a small bird formerly placed with the Emberizidae. It is now recognized as a tanager closely related to Darwins finches.


Range / Distribution

It breeds in the West Indies except Cuba, on Tobago but not Trinidad, and along the northern coasts of Colombia and Venezuela.

This is a common bird in long grass or scrub in open or semi-open areas, including roadsides and ricefields.


Black-faced Grassquit, Tiaris bicolorBreeding

It makes a domed grass nest, lined with finer grasses, and placed low in a bush or on a bank.

The typical clutch is two or three whitish eggs blotched with reddish brown. Both sexes build the nest and feed the young.



Adult Black-faced Grassquits are 10.2 cm long and weigh 10.5 g.

They have a short conical black bill with an obvious curve to the culmen.

The male is olive green above, paler grey-olive below, and has a black head and breast. Female and immature birds have dull olive-grey upperparts and head, and paler grey underparts becoming whiter on the belly.

Males on the South American mainland have more extensively black underparts, shading to a grey belly.


Diet / Feeding

The Black-faced Grassquit feeds mainly on seeds, especially of grasses and weeds.

It is often found in small groups, but is solitary at evening roosts.


Black-faced Grassquit, Tiaris bicolor - Juvenile MaleCalls / Vocalizations

The male has a display flight in which he flies for short distances, vibrating his wings and giving a buzzing dik-zeezeezee call.


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Male Black-faced Grassquit, Tiaris bicolorFemale Black-faced Grassquit, Tiaris bicolor - Female


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