Variable Seedeater

Variable Seedeater

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The variable seedeater (Sporophila corvina)

The variable seedeater (Sporophila corvina) is a passerine bird which breeds from southern Mexico through Central America to the Chocó of northwestern South America.



The variable seedeater is a small, robust bird with a black conical bill. It is  (4.1 in) long . There are four subspecies, which differ primarily in the plumage of the male:

  • S. c. corvina – (P.L. Sclater, 1860): (nominate), found from southern Mexico and along the Caribbean slope from Belize south to Panama. Adult males are entirely black apart from a small white wing-speculum and white wing linings.
  • S. c. hoffmannii – Cabanis, 1861: found on the Pacific slope of Costa Rica and Panama. Males resemble males S. c. corvina, but with white half-collar, rump and belly (the rump often intermixed with grey and the flanks retain some black mottling or barring).
  • S. c. hicksii – (Lawrence, 1865): found in eastern Panama and adjacent north-western Colombia. Males resemble S. c. hoffmannii, but, except for a small black chin and/or malar, the entire throat is white.
  • S. c. ophthalmica – (P.L. Sclater, 1860): found in southwestern Colombia, western Ecuador, and far north-western Peru. Males are very similar to males of S. c. hicksii, but black malar is very fine or lacking, rump purer white, and shows purer white flanks with little or no black mottling/barring.
  • Females are olive-brown above, paler below, and have white wing linings like the male. The racial differences in the female plumages are minor, with S. c. hoffmanniiS. c. hicksii and S. c. ophthalmica generally being paler and less brown than S. c. corvina, and often with a faint yellow tinge below. Juveniles are like the adult female of their subspecies. Males may not acquire the full adult plumage in their first year, and may breed whilst still showing some immature features in their appearance.



The female builds a flimsy cup nest that is made of coarse plant material and lined with a few finer fibers. and placed in a tree(1.3 to 19.7 ft) up, or higher, in the fork of a twig. The clutch is two or three brown-speckled pale grey eggs, which are incubated by the female alone for 12–14 days to hatching.


Diet for Variable Seedeater:

Paradise Earth Premium Finch Blend, greens and fruit. During breeding season they should be given live worms and egg food.