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Black-bellied Seedeater Sporophila melanogaster
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This species is considered Near Threatened, as it is thought to be experiencing a moderately rapid population decline owing to habitat loss and degradation, although it remains common in existing areas of suitable habitat.

Taxonomic source(s)
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

Distribution and population
Sporophila melanogaster occurs in west Minas Gerais and south Goiás, south to Rio Grande do Sul, in south-east Brazil. It is locally common in suitable habitats.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as 'uncommon' (Stotz et al. 1996).

Trend justification
Slow to moderate declines are suspected to be occurring, owing to habitat loss and degradation, although data on trends are lacking.

This species is found in grassland habitats at 700-1,100 m and lower altitudes in the non-breeding season (Ridgely and Tudor 1989, Parker et al. 1996). It is locally common in tall southern temperate grasslands, freshwater marshes and scrub, and is seasonally numerous (at least November-March) as a breeder in the highlands of Santa Catarina and north-east Rio Grande do Sul (Parker et al. 1996). Although apparently an austral migrant to the north of its range, its non-breeding range is poorly known (Ridgely and Tudor 1989, Parker et al. 1996).

It is presumably threatened as a result of rapid destruction of its habitat by extensive cattle-ranching, agriculture, invasive grasses, wetland drainage and excessive pesticide use (da Silva 1995, Parker and Willis 1997).

Conservation Actions Underway
Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to determine the full extent of the range, particularly during the non-breeding season. Determine its ecological requirements and the extent of tolerance of agricultural habitats. Effectively protect significant areas of suitable grassland habitat at key sites.

da Silva, J. M. C. 1995. Birds of the Cerrado Region, South America. Steenstrupia 21: 69-92.

Parker, T. A.; Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W. 1996. Ecological and distributional databases. In: Stotz, D.F.; Fitzpatrick, J.W.; Parker, T.A.; Moskovits, D.K. (ed.), Neotropical bird ecology and conservation, pp. 113-436. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Parker, T. A.; Willis, E. O. 1997. Notes on three tiny grassland flycatchers, with comments on the disappearance of South American fire-diversified savannas. Ornithological Monographs 48: 549-555.

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

Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W.; Parker, T. A.; Moskovits, D. K. 1996. Neotropical birds: ecology and conservation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Gilroy, J., O'Brien, A., Sharpe, C J

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Sporophila melanogaster. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016.

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 Near Threatened
Family Emberizidae (Buntings, American sparrows and allies)
Species name author (Pelzeln, 1870)
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 113,000 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species