Bird Info

White-collared Seedeater /semillero de collar (Sporophila torqueola)

Voice: Often heard calls are a clear descending “cheeeu” and a hard “tink.” Song is a series of clear whistles.

White-collared Seedeater
Status: Rare and local resident along the Rio Grande from Falcon Dam area west to about Laredo. Very rare east to Bentsen SP, where the only sighting during the past year was from the hawk tower.

Habitat: White-collared Seedeaters prefer weedy edges and second growth near stands of tall cane (Phragmites) along the Rio Grande.

Best Spots: Rarely reported in the Valley, occasionally found in the tall cane along Rio Grande at Chapeno and below the Falcon Spillway. The most reliable spot in recent years has been at the San Ygnacio Bird and Butterfly Park at the end of Washington Street in San Ygnacio. Seedeaters are also occasionally reported from the Zapata Library.

Similar Species: White-collared Seedeaters are very small birds with stubby (pug-nosed bills). With their black crowns and bold wing-bars, male seedeaters are unmistakable. Females and young males, however, are very drab and nondescript. Females seedeaters are distinguished from female Indigo Buntings by their smaller size, stubbier bill, shorter tail, and lack of any streaking in underparts. In the U.S., White-collared Seedeaters are virtually confined to cane habitat along a short stretch of Rio Grande.

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All Bird call recordings © John C. Arvin.
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Welcome to a birder’s eye view of the seasons in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Enjoy our annual cycle! The resulting avifauna in deep South Texas is the most diverse north of the Mexican border. The four county area that makes up the lower Rio Grande Valley has recorded over 500 species of birds. This is more species of birds than have been recorded in all but two or three entire states. Small wonder that birders from across the continent make pilgrimages to the region. Happy Birding!

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