Blue-black Grassquits

Tanagers

Blue-black Grassquit, Volatinia jacarina

Blue-black Grassquit (Female), Volatinia jacarina


Blue-black Grassquit, Volatinia jacarinaThe Blue-black Grassquit, Volatinia jacarina, is a small bird in the tanager family, Thraupidae. It was previously classified in the bunting and American sparrow family, Emberizidae. It is the only member of the genus Volatinia.


Distribution / Range

It breeds from southern Mexico through Central America, and South America as far as northern Chile, Argentina and Paraguay, and on Trinidad and Tobago.

This is a common bird in semi-open areas, including cultivation and gardens.


Description

Adult Blue-black Grassquits are 10.2 cm (4.0 in) long and weigh 9.3 g (0.33 oz). They have a slender conical black bill. The male is glossy blue-black, with a black tail and wings; the white inner underwing is visible in flight or display. Female and immature birds have brown upperparts and dark-streaked buff underparts.

The male has a jumping display, often performed for long periods, which gives rise to the local name Johnny Jump-up. This is accompanied by a persistent wheezing jweeee call.


Male Blue-back GrassquitBreeding / Nesting

It makes a small cup nest, with a typical clutch of one to three pale green eggs blotched with reddish brown. Both sexes incubate for 9–10 days, with about the same period again for the young to fledge.


Diet / Feeding

The Blue-black Grassquit feeds mainly on seeds. It is quite gregarious, and forms communal evening roosts.


References

  1. BirdLife International (2004). Volatinia jacarina. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  • ffrench, Richard (1991). A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago (2nd edition ed.). Comstock Publishing. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2.
  • Hilty, Steven L (2003). Birds of Venezuela. London: Christopher Helm. ISBN 0-7136-6418-5.


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