Welcome to the Birds of North America Online!
Welcome to BNA Online, the leading source of life history information for North American breeding birds. This free, courtesy preview is just the first of 14 articles that provide detailed life history information including Distribution, Migration, Habitat, Food Habits, Sounds, Behavior and Breeding. Written by acknowledged experts on each species, there is also a comprehensive bibliography of published research on the species.
A subscription is needed to access the remaining articles for this and any other species. Subscription rates start as low as $5 USD for 30 days of complete access to the resource. To subscribe, please visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology E-Store.
If you are already a current subscriber, you will need to sign in with your login information to access BNA normally.
Subscriptions are available for as little as $5 for 30 days of full access! If you would like to subscribe to BNA Online, just visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology E-Store.
The White-collared Seedeater is the northernmost species of its genus. Ranging from western Panama to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, it inhabits savanna, pastures, and brushy fields, frequently near water. Historically in the United States, this species was considered common and ranged widely throughout the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, but since the 1960s it has been found only in Zapata and Starr Counties, principally during summer and in small flocks. Habitat destruction and the use of agrochemicals are thought to be the main causes of this decline.
Males in their conspicuous black-and-white plumage are frequently observed singing from March to October. Females are more secretive, usually observed only when feeding or traveling to roosts. Although considered a seed specialist, in Texas this species feeds many insects to its young; fledglings, however, are fed exclusively grass seeds. This bird has been little studied in Texas, and its ecological requirements and population trends remain poorly known.
In Central America, several members of the genus Sporophila occur sympatrically. Definitive-plumaged males are easily distinguished, but juveniles and females are very similar in appearance, making identification difficult in the field.