email a friend
printable version
Hooded Seedeater Sporophila melanops
BirdLife Species Champion Become a BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme Supporter
For information about BirdLife Species Champions and Species Guardians visit the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme.

This species has not been recorded since the type specimen was collected in 1823, and it may have gone extinct as a result of habitat loss and/or other threatening processes. However, it cannot yet be presumed to be Extinct because the region of the type-locality has been poorly surveyed, and habitat destruction has not been severe. This suggests that, if the species is not nomadic or migratory, it may well still be extant. Any remaining population is likely to be tiny, and for these reasons it is treated as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct).

Taxonomic source(s)
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Taxonomic note
Sporophila melanops (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) is not listed by SACC (2006); presumably because of its possibly extinct status.

11 cm. Oddly-patterned seedeater. Male has black hood and throat contrasting with olive upperparts. Rest of underparts dingy buff. Female unknown. Similar spp. Yellow-bellied Seedeater S. nigricollis has pale yellow underparts and black extends on to upper breast. Voice Undescribed.

Distribution and population
Sporophila melanops is known only from one adult male collected in October 1823. The specimen was taken at a lake 15 km north of Registro do Araguaia, on the east bank of the rio Araguaia in extreme west-central Goiás, Brazil. Searches along the floodplain of the Araguaia river, most recently in December 2008-January 2009 and July 2010 have not produced any sightings (G. M. Kirwan in litt. 2009, 2010).

Population justification
Any remaining population is assumed to be tiny (numbering fewer than 50 individuals and mature individuals), with no records since the collection of the type specimen in 1823.

The type-specimen was obtained from a flock of other finches in presumably open habitat. It was in heavy moult.

None are known. Habitat destruction in the region is unlikely to have been sufficiently extensive to extirpate the species. However, the year-round distribution of the species is unknown and therefore deductions regarding threats are somewhat meaningless.

Conservation Actions Underway
A seven day survey in the Araguaia river floodplain in December 2008-2009 and a further survey in 2010 failed to find the species (G. M. Kirwan in litt. 2009, 2010). Conservation Actions Proposed
Search Sporophila spp. flocks in Goiás and adjacent Mato Grosso, including the Pantanal do Rio das Mortes, Mato Grosso, areas along Ilha do Bananal, Tocantins, and perhaps northern Paraguay and eastern Bolivia. Carry out further wide-ranging surveys of the Araguaia Valley at different seasons to fully discount the possibility that S. melanops is either still extant or a valid taxon. Re-examine the type-specimen to fully establish the diagnostic characters and determine its moult stage, and examine specimens of nigricollis to determine whether any show some or all of the characters associated with melanops (G. M. Kirwan in litt. 2009, 2010).

Collar, N. J.; Gonzaga, L. P.; Krabbe, N.; Madroño Nieto, A.; Naranjo, L. G.; Parker, T. A.; Wege, D. C. 1992. Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

Hellmayr, C. E. 1938. Catalogue of birds of the Americas, Part 11. Field Museum of Natural History Zoological Series 13(Publ. 430).

Ridgely, R. S.; Tudor, G. 1989. The birds of South America. University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas.

Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note, taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Recuento detallado de la especie tomado del libro Aves Amenazadas de las Americas, Libro Rojo de BirdLife International (BirdLife International 1992). Nota: la taxonomo

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Butchart, S., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A.

Kirwan, G.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Sporophila melanops. Downloaded from on 21/04/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 21/04/2014.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Critically Endangered - Possibly Extinct
Family Emberizidae (Buntings, American sparrows and allies)
Species name author (Pelzeln, 1870)
Population size 1-49 mature individuals
Population trend Unknown
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species