Blue black Grassquit (Volatinia jacarina)

Blue-black Grassquit

[order] Passeriformes | [family] Emberizidae | [latin] Volatinia jacarina | [UK] Blue-black Grassquit | [FR] Jacarini noir | [DE] Jacarini | [ES] Negrito Chirri | [IT] Fringuello Negrillo | [NL] Jacarina-grasgors


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Sporophila jacarina
Volatinia jacarina LA widespread
Volatinia jacarina jacarina
Volatinia jacarina peruviensis
Volatinia jacarina splendens

Physical charateristics

The male are distinguished from the brownish females and juveniles by their glossy black plumage and white underwings. The male has a concealed white spot at the juncture of the wing and body that can be seen in display flights. Females have greyish brown upperparts and pale beige below. Their throat and breast are steaked greyish brown. The iris is dark brown. The upper mandible is black, while the lower mandible is bluish grey. Feet are grey. During the breeding season males can be seen calling from a perch then suddenly jumping straight up in the air and back down again while showing off its white underwings. It can jump about 10 times per minute. It is quite gregarious, and forms communal evening roosts.

Listen to the sound of Blue-black Grassquit

[audio: Grassquit.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 10 cm size max.: 11 cm
incubation min.: 12 days incubation max.: 13 days
fledging min.: 12 days fledging max.: 13 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 3  


It occurs from Mexico and Central America southward through Brazil to Chile and Argentina.


It inhabits forest edges, woodland, wet grassland, and cultivated area. They are also found around tangles of weeds and vines, cropped pastures, sugar cane, lava flows, tule marshes, mimosa thickets, pine woods, and even in the cloud forest. The greatest concentrations occur in open country grown extensively with bunch grass and mimosa brush.


Both sexes incubate for 9?10 days, with about the same period again for the young to fledge.

Feeding habits

They are basically small seed-eaters, but they also often feed on small insects. The type of seeds eaten depend on what plant species are available


This species has a large range, with an estimated global extent of occurrence of 15,000,000 km². The global population size has not been quantified, but it is believed to be large as the species is described as ‘common’ in at least parts of its range (Stotz et al. 1996). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e., declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Blue-black Grassquit status Least Concern


In the southeastern and southern areas of the country, it disappears during the winter, migrating to warmer areas.

Distribution map

Blue-black Grassquit range map


Title Complex communication signals: the case
of the Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina
(Aves, Emberizidae) song. Part I – A structural analysis
Abstract: The song of the Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jac..[more]..
Source: An Acad Bras Cienc (2004) 76 (2)

download full text (pdf)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *