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Great-billed Seed-finch Oryzoborus maximiliani
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This species was uplisted from Near Threatened to Vulnerable in 2013 following evidence that it is declining rapidly, owing to intensive trapping and the loss and degradation of its habitats. If further evidence suggests that the decline is more rapid than currently thought, the species may qualify for uplisting again in the near future.

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

Distribution and population
Oryzoborus maximiliani has a very disjunct range on the Pacific slope It if found in northern Bolivia (one locality), eastern Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, lower Amazonian Brazil and eastern and southern Brazil. It is very local and rare throughout its range (Restall et al. 2006), but can be common in suitable habitats, and has been noted to be fairly common in savannas near Trinidad in Beni department, Bolivia (F. Rheindt in litt. 2012).

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

Trend justification
This species is suspected to be experiencing a rapid population decline, as it has become rare in many parts of its range and is known to suffer high levels of persecution for the cage-bird trade, as well as habitat loss and degradation.

This species is very local and patchily distributed. It occurs in riparian thickets, freshwater marshes and second-growth scrub to 1,100 m (Ridgely and Tudor 1989, Stotz et al. 1996). At least in Colombia, it can be locally very common, where it also frequents rice plantations (Hilty and Brown 1986). It has been noted to be fairly common in savanna habitat in Bolivia, including degraded areas by roads, as well as abandoned urban property (F. Rheindt in litt. 2012).

The principal threat is the depletion of local populations by cage-bird trappers (Ridgely and Tudor 1989, Olmos 1993, Stotz et al. 1996), and this activity has caused it to vanish from most of its former range in Brazil. In fact, several long-term Brazilian ornithologists have failed to find this species in the wild since c. 2002, and its remaining wild population must be very small. The significant captive population in Brazil may be used for future reintroductions but the chances of that happening in the short-term are slim because the birds are very valuable, attaining high market prices. Habitat loss and degradation, as a result of conversion to agriculture and plantations, is also likely to contribute to declines.

Conservation Actions Underway
The species has been recorded in Emas National Park, Brazil (A. Monteiro per F. Olmos in litt. 2004, A. de Luca in litt. 2010).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct studies to determine the taxonomic status of the distinct subspecies. Repeat surveys of known sites to determine rates of population decline. Monitor the abundance of this species in the wild bird trade. Regulate the capture of the species as a cage-bird.

Braun, M. J.; Finch, D. W.; Robbins, M. B.; Schmidt, B. K. 2007. A Field Checklist of the Birds of Guyana, 2nd edition. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, USA.

Hilty, S. L.; Brown, W. L. 1986. A guide to the birds of Colombia. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Olmos, F. 1993. Birds of Serra da Capivara National Park in the "caatinga" of north-eastern Brazil. Bird Conservation International 3: 21-36.

Restall, R.; Rodner, C.; Lentino, M. 2006. Birds of northern South America: an identification guide. Volume 1: species accounts. Christopher Helm, London.

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
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Butchart, S., Gilroy, J., Sharpe, C J, Taylor, J. & Ashpole, J

De Luca, A., Olmos, F., Rheindt, F., Salaman, P. & Costa, F.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Oryzoborus maximiliani. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016.

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 Vulnerable
Family Emberizidae (Buntings, American sparrows and allies)
Species name author Cabanis, 1851
Population size U mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1,530,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species