Buntings and New World Sparrows (Emberizidae)

Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis) - HBW 16, p. 545

French: Bruant chingolo German: Morgenammer Spanish: Chingolo Común
Other common names: Central American Crowned Sparrow (Central American races); Andean Sparrow (Andean races)

Taxonomy: Fringilla capensis Statius Müller, 1776, Cape of Good Hope; error = Cayenne, French Guiana.
Genus probably close to Junco. Has been suggested that present species more closely related to Melospiza than to current congeners. Geographical variation both in size and in coloration, although size variation not so pronounced as in some other New World sparrows; excluding very pale insularis (S Caribbean), birds from farthest S parts of range (australis) are palest and those from highlands of Brazil (macconnelli) darkest; morphologically the most divergent is the large and very long-winged australis. Numerous races have been proposed, but many are p.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Fringilla capensis Statius Müller, 1776, Cape of Good Hope; error = Cayenne, French Guiana.
Genus probably close to Junco. Has been suggested that present species more closely related to Melospiza than to current congeners. Geographical variation both in size and in coloration, although size variation not so pronounced as in some other New World sparrows; excluding very pale insularis (S Caribbean), birds from farthest S parts of range (australis) are palest and those from highlands of Brazil (macconnelli) darkest; morphologically the most divergent is the large and very long-winged australis. Numerous races have been proposed, but many are poorly differentiated; orestera may be better treated as a synonym of costaricensis, and mellea perhaps better subsumed in hypoleuca; at present, perezchinchillorum (described from Cerro Marahuaca, in S Venezuela) and bonnetiana (Sierra Chiribiquete, in S Colombia) subsumed into roraimae, and markli (lowland NW Peru) into huancabambae. Comprehensive revision of subspecific taxonomy required. Twenty-five subspecies presently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • septentrionalis Griscom, 1930 - highlands of S Mexico (Chiapas) S to Honduras and El Salvador.
  • costaricensis J. A. Allen, 1891 - mountains of El Salvador, Costa Rica and W Panama (E to Veraguas); Santa Marta Mts (N Colombia) and Andes from Venezuela (S from C Lara) S to Ecuador.
  • antillarum (Riley, 1916) - Cordillera Central, in Dominican Republic.

     See all 25 subspecies
  • septentrionalis Griscom, 1930 - highlands of S Mexico (Chiapas) S to Honduras and El Salvador.
  • costaricensis J. A. Allen, 1891 - mountains of El Salvador, Costa Rica and W Panama (E to Veraguas); Santa Marta Mts (N Colombia) and Andes from Venezuela (S from C Lara) S to Ecuador.
  • antillarum (Riley, 1916) - Cordillera Central, in Dominican Republic.
  • orestera Wetmore, 1951 - Cerro Campana (extreme SW Panamá Province), in C Panama.
  • insularis (Ridgway, 1898) - Curaçao I and Aruba I, in Netherlands Antilles.
  • venezuelae Chapman, 1939 - N & C Venezuela (coastal mountains from Yaracuy E to Miranda, and Anzoátegui E to Sucre; Quiribana de Caicara, in NW Bolívar).
  • inaccessibilis Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1955 - headwaters of R Yatúa, on Cerro de la Neblina (S Amazonas), in S Venezuela.
  • roraimae (Chapman, 1929) - Sierra de la Macarena (Meta), in C Colombia; E & S Venezuela (NW Amazonas and tepuis and Gran Sabana of SE Bolívar) and adjacent W Guyana and N Brazil.
  • macconnelli Sharpe, 1900 - summit of Mt Roraima, in SE Bolívar (SE Venezuela).
  • capensis (Statius Müller, 1776) - lower R Oyapock, in NE French Guiana; presumably also adjacent NE Brazil (Amapá).
  • huancabambae Chapman, 1940 - arid subtropics of N & C Peru (Piura, Cajamarca, Amazonas and San Martín S to Junín).
  • illescasensis Koepcke, 1963 - Cerro Illescas (Piura), in NW Peru.
  • peruviensis (Lesson, 1834) - arid coastal Peru from La Libertad S to Tacna, and inland on W slope of Andes.
  • carabayae Chapman, 1940 - E slope of Andes from C Peru (Junín) S to Bolivia (La Paz and Cochabamba).
  • pulacayensis (Ménégaux, 1908) - Pulacayo and Pampas de Pazña, in L Poopó region (Oruro department), in W Bolivia.
  • tocantinsi Chapman, 1940 - lower Amazonia (along R Tocantins and probably along lower Amazon E from Monte Alegre), Brazil.
  • matutina (M. H. C. Lichtenstein, 1823) - NE & C Brazil (from Maranhão S to N & C Mato Grosso and Bahia) and adjacent E Bolivia (Santa Cruz).
  • subtorquata Swainson, 1837 - SC & SE Brazil (from S Mato Grosso and Espírito Santo) S to E Paraguay, NE Argentina (Misiones) and Uruguay.
  • mellea (Wetmore, 1922) - C Paraguay (W side of R Paraguay) and N Argentina (Formosa).
  • hypoleuca (Todd, 1915) - E & S Bolivia (E Cochambama, Santa Cruz, Chuquisaca, Tarija, possibly also C La Paz) and llanos of N Argentina (Salta and La Rioja S to San Luis, Córdoba and S Buenos Aires).
  • antofagastae Chapman, 1940 - Tarapacá and Antofagasta, in N Chile.
  • chilensis (Meyen, 1834) - C Chile (sea-level to puna zone) from Atacama S to Guaitecas Is, and W Argentina on E slopes of Andes (Mendoza and Neuquén, and Río Negro).
  • sanborni Hellmayr, 1932 - High Andes of Coquimbo and Aconcagua (Chile) and San Juan (W Argentina).
  • choraules (Wetmore & J. L. Peters, 1922) - lowlands and foothills of W Argentina in Mendoza, E Neuquén and Río Negro.
  • australis (Latham, 1790) - breeds S Chile (S from Aysén) and S Argentina (S from S Neuquén and Río Negro); migrates N probably as far as N Bolivia.