Buntings and New World Sparrows (Emberizidae)

Black-faced Grassquit (Tiaris bicolor) - HBW 16, p. 669

French: Cici verdinère German: Jamaikagimpelfink Spanish: Semillero Biocolor
Other common names: Black Sparrow, Grass Bird (Jamaica)

Taxonomy: Fringilla bicolor Linnaeus, 1766, America = Bahama Islands.
Genus may belong in tanager family (Thraupidae); appears to be part of a clade which also includes several Caribbean genera (Euneornis, Loxipasser, Melopyrrha, Loxigilla, Melanospiza), Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola), and “Darwin’s finches” (Certhidea, Platyspiza, Pinaroloxias, Camarhynchus, Geospiza). Molecular data suggest that genus as currently constituted is polyphyletic; further research required. Eight subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • bicolor (Linnaeus, 1766) - Bahama Is; Cayo Tío Pepe, NW of Isabela de Sagua, off N Cuba.
  • marchii (S. F. Baird, 1863) - Jamaica and Hispaniola, including nearby small islands.
  • omissus Jardine, 1847 - Puerto Rico E through Lesser Antilles to Tobago, and mainland from N Colombia (Guajira Peninsula and W Santander) E through coastal Venezuela to Sucre and Margarita I.

     See all 8 subspecies
  • bicolor (Linnaeus, 1766) - Bahama Is; Cayo Tío Pepe, NW of Isabela de Sagua, off N Cuba.
  • marchii (S. F. Baird, 1863) - Jamaica and Hispaniola, including nearby small islands.
  • omissus Jardine, 1847 - Puerto Rico E through Lesser Antilles to Tobago, and mainland from N Colombia (Guajira Peninsula and W Santander) E through coastal Venezuela to Sucre and Margarita I.
  • grandior (Cory, 1887) - San Andrés Archipelago (Providencia, Santa Catalina and San Andrés), in SW Caribbean.
  • sharpei (E. J. O. Hartert, 1893) - Netherlands Antilles (Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire).
  • tortugensis Cory, 1909 - I La Tortuga, off N Venezuela.
  • johnstonei (P. R. Lowe, 1906) - La Blanquilla and Los Hermanos, off N Venezuela.
  • huilae A. H. Miller, 1952 - Magdalena Valley, in C Colombia.