Buntings and New World Sparrows (Emberizidae)

Grassland Yellow-finch (Sicalis luteola) - HBW 16, p. 637

French: Sicale des savanes German: Kurzschnabel-Gilbammer Spanish: Chirigüe Sabanero
Other common names: Striped/Yellow-breasted Yellow-finch, Yellow Grass-finch; Montane Yellow-finch (bogotensis); Misto/Southern Yellow-finch (luteiventris); Northern Yellow Finch (chrysops)

Taxonomy: Emberiza luteola Sparrman, 1789, no locality = Suriname.
Molecular-genetic data suggest that genus is most closely related to the “hooded” group of sierra-finches (Phrygilus atriceps, Phrygilus punensis, Phrygilus gayi and Phrygilus patagonicus); also, that it belongs within the tanager family (Thraupidae). This species previously considered conspecific with S. raimondii owing to similarities in plumage, but the two occur sympatrically in coastal S Peru and behave as good biological species. Has been suggested that races may constitute up to three separate species, nominate, flavissima and chapman.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Emberiza luteola Sparrman, 1789, no locality = Suriname.
Molecular-genetic data suggest that genus is most closely related to the “hooded” group of sierra-finches (Phrygilus atriceps, Phrygilus punensis, Phrygilus gayi and Phrygilus patagonicus); also, that it belongs within the tanager family (Thraupidae). This species previously considered conspecific with S. raimondii owing to similarities in plumage, but the two occur sympatrically in coastal S Peru and behave as good biological species. Has been suggested that races may constitute up to three separate species, nominate, flavissima and chapmani forming one species, chrysops, mexicana, eisenmanni and bogotensis another, and luteiventris a third; others suggest that only two main groups are involved, luteiventris being a separate species and all other races being conspecific. A detailed study of geographical plumage variation, vocalizations and genetics is needed. Eight subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • mexicana Brodkorb, 1943 - C Mexico (Pacific slope in Puebla and Morelos).
  • chrysops P. L. Sclater, 1862 - S Mexico (Caribbean slope in Veracruz and Chiapas), S Guatemala (Sacatepéquez), and Mosquitia region of E Honduras and NE Nicaragua.
  • eisenmanni Wetmore, 1953 - NW Costa Rica (Guanacaste) and C Panama (Coclé).

     See all 8 subspecies
  • mexicana Brodkorb, 1943 - C Mexico (Pacific slope in Puebla and Morelos).
  • chrysops P. L. Sclater, 1862 - S Mexico (Caribbean slope in Veracruz and Chiapas), S Guatemala (Sacatepéquez), and Mosquitia region of E Honduras and NE Nicaragua.
  • eisenmanni Wetmore, 1953 - NW Costa Rica (Guanacaste) and C Panama (Coclé).
  • luteola (Sparrman, 1789) - Colombia (lower elevations of W Andes, and valleys of R Cauca and R Magdalena), Venezuela (Falcón, Monagas and Bolívar), Guyana and adjacent N Brazil (R Branco region).
  • bogotensis Chapman, 1924 - Andes of Venezuela and E range in Colombia S through highlands of Ecuador to S Peru (Arequipa).
  • flavissima Todd, 1922 - Suriname S to mouth of R Amazon (Brazil).
  • chapmani Ridgway, 1899 - lower R Amazon in Brazil (C Pará).
  • luteiventris (Meyen, 1834) - breeds in S Brazil (Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul), Uruguay, lowlands of N & C Argentina (Santiago de Estero and Corrientes S to Chubut) and C Chile (S Coquimbo S to Valdivia); winters N to S Peru (Cuzco and Puno), C & E Bolivia (La Paz, Beni and lowland Santa Cruz), C Brazil (Mato Grosso E to Bahia).