Buntings and New World Sparrows (Emberizidae)

Wedge-tailed Grass-finch (Emberizoides herbicola) - HBW 16, p. 638

French: Grand Tardivole German: Keilschwanzammer Spanish: Coludo Colicuña
Other common names: Wedge-tailed Ground-finch, Azara’s Grass-finch

Taxonomy: Sylvia herbicola Vieillot, 1817, Paraguay.
Molecular data indicate that genus is sister to Embernagra, and both appear to belong in tanager family (Thraupidae). Sometimes treated as conspecific with E. ypiranganus; until recently considered conspecific with E. duidae. Races fall roughly into two groups, “sphenurus group” (sphenurus, hypochondriacus, lucaris and apurensis) N of R Amazon, and single-species “herbicola group” (nominate race) in S; groups differ in plumage and voice, and in playback experiments nominate does not react to songs from apurensis, sug.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Sylvia herbicola Vieillot, 1817, Paraguay.
Molecular data indicate that genus is sister to Embernagra, and both appear to belong in tanager family (Thraupidae). Sometimes treated as conspecific with E. ypiranganus; until recently considered conspecific with E. duidae. Races fall roughly into two groups, “sphenurus group” (sphenurus, hypochondriacus, lucaris and apurensis) N of R Amazon, and single-species “herbicola group” (nominate race) in S; groups differ in plumage and voice, and in playback experiments nominate does not react to songs from apurensis, suggesting that more than one species may be involved; geographical limits of some races require confirmation.Race lucaris may be similar enough to be subsumed into hypochondriacus; further study required. Proposed race floresae, described from Panama (Cerro Flores, in E Chiriquí), appears to be based on an immature specimen, and is treated as a synonym of hypochondriacus. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • lucaris Bangs, 1908 - SW Costa Rica (Térraba region).
  • hypochondriacus Hellmayr, 1906 - W & C Panama.
  • sphenurus (Vieillot, 1818) - locally in Colombia, S Ecuador and N Peru, and in Venezuela (except W lowlands and Cerro Duida), the Guianas, and NE Brazil (S to N Maranhão).

     See all 5 subspecies
  • lucaris Bangs, 1908 - SW Costa Rica (Térraba region).
  • hypochondriacus Hellmayr, 1906 - W & C Panama.
  • sphenurus (Vieillot, 1818) - locally in Colombia, S Ecuador and N Peru, and in Venezuela (except W lowlands and Cerro Duida), the Guianas, and NE Brazil (S to N Maranhão).
  • apurensis Gilliard, 1940 - lowland W Venezuela (Guárico, Portuguesa, Barinas and Apure).
  • herbicola (Vieillot, 1817) - E Bolivia (Beni, La Paz, Santa Cruz and Chuquisaca), C, E & S Brazil (Mato Grosso E to Pernambuco, S to Rio Grande do Sul), Paraguay, N Argentina (Formosa and Misiones S to Entre Ríos and N Santa Fe) and N Uruguay (Rivera).