Black-faced Grassquit

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Tiaris bicolor

Black-faced Grassquit

The Black-faced Grassquit is part of the clade of the specialized tanagers like the Bananaquit and the Yellow-faced Grassquit (among several other species).

This group includes several Caribbean genera and the Darwin’s Finches.

It measures about 3.94 - 4.7 inches in length and weighs around 7 - 12 grams.

Adult males have a black head, throat and most of underparts. The rear part of the flanks is greenish-olive like upperparts, upperwing and tail. The short, thick bill is blackish.

During the breeding season, the gape becomes bright pink to red. Eyes are dark brown. Legs and feet are flesh-colored.

Females are dull olive-green with browner or grayer tinge on the underparts. Bill has dark upper mandible and pale lower mandible.

Juveniles resemble the females.

CALL: A soft “tsip”

SONG: A weak buzzing “tsee-tsee-tsee- seeseesee”. This song is usually given during the courtship displays.

Feeds primarily on grass seeds and has thick, small and very short bill, well- adapted to this feeding behavior.

Open or semi-open areas, in long grass or shrub, roadsides and ricefields. It also occurs in forest clearings, cactus scrub, plantations, gardens and urban areas.

Occurs in Bahamas Islands, and northwest of Isabela de Sagua, off northern Cuba.

The male usually selects the nest site and starts to build a basic nest. Once the female accepts the site, she takes part in nest-building and often finishes the nest.

It is a globular structure with an entrance at the front, made with grass and twigs, and the interior is lined with finer grasses. It is placed on the ground, usually in Opuntia cacti, but sometimes in low bush or small tree, between 2 and 5 meters above the ground. This species often breeds in small colonies.

The female lays 2 - 5 white eggs with brownish markings. She incubates alone during 12 days.



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