Seasonal movements and conservation of seedeaters of the genus Sporophila in South America

José Maria Cardoso Da Silva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Small seed-eating finches of the genus Sporophila, commonly called seedeaters, are among the most characteristic elements of South America's grassland avifauna. Twenty-three species of Sporophila seedeaters were classified into three groups according to their seasonal movements. Fourteen species make long-distance movements between at least two major ecological regions in South America, four species make intermediate to long-distance movements within a single ecological region, and five species make short-distance movements between adjacent habitats. The grasslands in the Cerrado region seem to be the most important wintering sites for most of the long-distance migrant Sporophila. Mapping the ranges of all threatened or near-threatened Sporophila species identified seven critical areas between southern coastal Colombia and southernmost Brazil. Creating reserves in these seven areas would protect at least one population of 23 Sporophila species. Mapping the ranges of all species and well-marked subspecies with restricted ranges (350,000 square kilometers or less) identified nine critical areas (five of which were also identified by mapping threatened or near-threatened species) between northern South America and southernmost Brazil. Creating reserves in these nine areas would protect populations of 29 species or well-defined subspecies of Sporophila. The conservation of South American grasslands needs urgent action. The areas identified here are important grassland habitats that should be priority areas for organizations and agencies interested in grassland conservation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-280
Number of pages9
JournalStudies in Avian Biology
Issue number19
StatePublished - Dec 1 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Cerrado
  • Conservation
  • Grassland birds
  • Seedeaters
  • Sporophila

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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