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American Tree Sparrow, Spizella arborea
American Tree Sparrow, Spizella arborea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Emberizidae
Vigors, 1831

The Emberizidae are a large family of passerine birds.

They are seed-eating birds with a distinctively shaped bill. In Europe, most species are named as buntings.

The Emberizidae family probably originated in South America and spread first into North America before crossing into eastern Asia and continuing to move west. This explains the paucity of emberizid species in Europe and Africa when compared to the Americas.

In North America, most of the species in this family are known as Sparrows, but these birds are not closely related to the Old World sparrows which are in the family Passeridae. The family also includes the North American birds known as juncos and towhees.

Their habits are similar to those of finches, with which they sometimes used to be grouped. Older sources may place some emberizids in the Fringillidae, and the common names of some emberizids still refer to them as finches. Many emberizid species have distinctive head patterns.


Species in taxonomic order

The buntings

  • Crested Bunting, Melophus lathami
    Slaty Bunting, Latoucheornis siemsseni
    Yellowhammer, Emberiza citrinella
    Pine Bunting, Emberiza leucocephalos
    Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus
    Tibetan Bunting, Emberiza koslowi
    Rock Bunting, Emberiza cia
    Godlewski's Bunting, Emberiza godlewskii
    Meadow Bunting, Emberiza cioides
    Rufous-backed Bunting, Emberiza jankowskii
    Grey-hooded Bunting, Emberiza buchanani
    Cinereous Bunting, Emberiza cineracea
    Ortolan Bunting, Emberiza hortulana
    Chestnut-breasted Bunting, Emberiza stewarti
    Cretzschmar's Bunting, Emberiza caesia
    House Bunting, Emberiza striolata
    Lark-like Bunting, Emberiza impetuani
    Cinnamon-breasted Bunting, Emberiza tahapisi
    Socotra Bunting, Emberiza socotrana
    Cape Bunting, Emberiza capensis
    Ochre-rumped Bunting, Emberiza yessoensis
    Tristram's Bunting, Emberiza tristrami
    Chestnut-eared Bunting, Emberiza fucata
    Little Bunting, Emberiza pusilla
    Yellow-browed Bunting, Emberiza chrysophrys
    Rustic Bunting, Emberiza rustica
    Yellow-throated Bunting, Emberiza elegans
    Yellow-breasted Bunting, Emberiza aureola
    Golden-breasted Bunting, Emberiza flaviventris
    Somali Bunting, Emberiza poliopleura
    Brown-rumped Bunting, Emberiza affinis
    Cabanis' Bunting, Emberiza cabanisi
    Chestnut Bunting, Emberiza rutila
    Black-headed Bunting, Emberiza melanocephala
    Red-headed Bunting, Emberiza bruniceps
    Yellow Bunting, Emberiza sulphurata
    Black-faced Bunting, Emberiza spodocephala
    Grey Bunting, Emberiza variabilis
    Pallas' Reed Bunting, Emberiza pallasi
    Reed Bunting, Emberiza schoeniclus
    Corn Bunting, Emberiza calandra
    Snow Bunting, Plectrophenax nivalis
    McKay's Bunting, Plectrophenax hyperboreus
    Przevalski's Rosefinch, Urocynchramus pylzowi
    Coal-crested Finch, Charitospiza eucosma
    Black-masked Finch, Coryphaspiza melanotis
    Many-colored Chaco Finch, Saltatricula multicolor
    Pileated Finch, Coryphospingus pileatus
    Red-crested Finch, Coryphospingus cucullatus
    Crimson-breasted Finch, Rhodospingus cruentus

The sierra finches

  • Black-hooded Sierra Finch, Phrygilus atriceps
    Peruvian Sierra Finch, Phrygilus punensis
    Gray-hooded Sierra Finch, Phrygilus gayi
    Patagonian Sierra Finch, Phrygilus patagonicus
    Mourning Sierra Finch, Phrygilus fruticeti
    Plumbeous Sierra Finch, Phrygilus unicolor
    Red-backed Sierra Finch, Phrygilus dorsalis
    White-throated Sierra Finch, Phrygilus erythronotus
    Carbonated Sierra Finch, Phrygilus carbonarius
    Band-tailed Sierra Finch, Phrygilus alaudinus
    Ash-breasted Sierra Finch, Phrygilus plebejus
    Canary-winged Finch, Melanodera melanodera
    Yellow-bridled Finch, Melanodera xanthogramma
    Black-crested Finch, Lophospingus pusillus
    Gray-crested Finch, Lophospingus griseocristatus
    Long-tailed Reed Finch, Donacospiza albifrons
    Gough Island Finch, Rowettia goughensis
    Nightingale Finch, Nesospiza acunhae
    Wilkins' Finch, Nesospiza wilkinsi
    White-winged Diuca Finch, Diuca speculifera
    Common Diuca Finch, Diuca diuca
    Short-tailed Finch, Idiopsar brachyurus
    Cinereous Finch, Piezorhina cinerea
    Slender-billed Finch, Xenospingus concolor

The Inca finches

  • Great Inca Finch, Incaspiza pulchra
    Rufous-backed Inca Finch, Incaspiza personata
    Gray-winged Inca Finch, Incaspiza ortizi
    Buff-bridled Inca Finch, Incaspiza laeta
    Little Inca Finch, Incaspiza watkinsi

The warbling finches

  • Bay-chested Warbling Finch, Poospiza thoracica
    Bolivian Warbling Finch, Poospiza boliviana
    Plain-tailed Warbling Finch, Poospiza alticola
    Rufous-sided Warbling Finch, Poospiza hypochondria
    Cinnamon Warbling Finch, Poospiza ornata
    Rusty-browed Warbling Finch, Poospiza erythrophrys
    Black-and-rufous Warbling Finch, Poospiza nigrorufa
    Black-and-chestnut Warbling Finch, Poospiza whitii
    Red-rumped Warbling Finch, Poospiza lateralis
    Rufous-breasted Warbling Finch, Poospiza rubecula
    Cochabamba Mountain Finch, Poospiza garleppi
    Tucuman Mountain Finch, Poospiza baeri
    Chestnut-breasted Mountain Finch, Poospiza caesar
    Collared Warbling Finch, Poospiza hispaniolensis
    Ringed Warbling Finch, Poospiza torquata
    Black-capped Warbling Finch, Poospiza melanoleuca
    Cinereous Warbling Finch, Poospiza cinerea
    Blue-black Grassquit, Volatinia jacarina

The seedeaters

  • Buffy-fronted Seedeater, Sporophila frontalis
    Temminck's Seedeater, Sporophila falcirostris
    Slate-colored Seedeater, Sporophila schistacea
    Plumbeous Seedeater, Sporophila plumbea
    Caqueta Seedeater, Sporophila murallae
    Gray Seedeater, Sporophila intermedia
    Wing-barred Seedeater, Sporophila americana
    Variable Seedeater, Sporophila corvina
    White-collared Seedeater, Sporophila torqueola
    Rusty-collared Seedeater, Sporophila collaris
    Lesson's Seedeater, Sporophila bouvronides
    Lined Seedeater, Sporophila lineola
    Black-and-white Seedeater, Sporophila luctuosa
    Yellow-bellied Seedeater, Sporophila nigricollis
    Dubois' Seedeater, Sporophila ardesiaca
    Hooded Seedeater, Sporophila melanops
    Double-collared Seedeater, Sporophila caerulescens
    White-throated Seedeater, Sporophila albogularis
    Drab Seedeater, Sporophila simplex
    White-bellied Seedeater, Sporophila leucoptera
    Parrot-billed Seedeater, Sporophila peruviana
    Black-and-tawny Seedeater, Sporophila nigrorufa
    Capped Seedeater, Sporophila bouvreuil
    Ruddy-breasted Seedeater, Sporophila minuta
    Tawny-bellied Seedeater, Sporophila hypoxantha
    Dark-throated Seedeater, Sporophila ruficollis
    Marsh Seedeater, Sporophila palustris
    Chestnut-bellied Seedeater, Sporophila castaneiventris
    Gray-and-chestnut Seedeater, Sporophila hypochroma
    Chestnut Seedeater, Sporophila cinnamomea
    Narosky's Seedeater, Sporophila zelichi
    Black-bellied Seedeater, Sporophila melanogaster
    Chestnut-throated Seedeater, Sporophila telasco
    Tumaco Seedeater, Sporophila insulata
    Band-tailed Seedeater, Catamenia analis
    Plain-colored Seedeater, Catamenia inornata
    Paramo Seedeater, Catamenia homochroa
    Blackish-blue Seedeater, Amaurospiza moesta
    Blue Seedeater, Amaurospiza concolor
    Slate-blue Seedeater, Amaurospiza relicta
    Carrizal Seedeater, Amaurospiza carrizalensis
    Nicaraguan Seed Finch, Oryzoborus nuttingi
    Large-billed Seed Finch, Oryzoborus crassirostris
    Black-billed Seed Finch, Oryzoborus atrirostris
    Great-billed Seed Finch, Oryzoborus maximiliani
    Chestnut-bellied Seed Finch, Oryzoborus angolensis
    Thick-billed Seed Finch, Oryzoborus funereus
    White-naped Seedeater, Dolospingus fringilloides
    Cuban Bullfinch, Melopyrrha nigra
    Dull-colored Grassquit, Tiaris obscura
    Cuban Grassquit, Tiaris canora
    Yellow-faced Grassquit, Tiaris olivacea
    Black-faced Grassquit, Tiaris bicolor
    Sooty Grassquit, Tiaris fuliginosa
    Yellow-shouldered Grassquit, Loxipasser anoxanthus
    Orangequit, Euneornis campestris
    St. Lucia Black Finch, Melanospiza richardsoni
    Puerto Rican Bullfinch, Loxigilla portoricensis
    Greater Antillean Bullfinch, Loxigilla violacea
    Lesser Antillean Bullfinch, Loxigilla noctis
    Cocos Island Finch, Pinaroloxias inornata
    Slaty Finch, Haplospiza rustica
    Uniform Finch, Haplospiza unicolor
    Peg-billed Finch, Acanthidops bairdii

The Flowerpiercers

  • Cinnamon-bellied Flowerpiercer, Diglossa baritula
    Slaty Flowerpiercer, Diglossa plumbea
    Rusty Flowerpiercer, Diglossa sittoides
    Venezuelan Flowerpiercer, Diglossa venezuelensis
    Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer, Diglossa gloriosissima
    White-sided Flowerpiercer, Diglossa albilatera
    Glossy Flowerpiercer, Diglossa lafresnayii
    Moustached Flowerpiercer, Diglossa mystacalis
    Merida Flowerpiercer, Diglossa gloriosa
    Black Flowerpiercer, Diglossa humeralis
    Black-throated Flowerpiercer, Diglossa brunneiventris
    Gray-bellied Flowerpiercer, Diglossa carbonaria
    Scaled Flowerpiercer, Diglossa duidae
    Greater Flowerpiercer, Diglossa major
    Indigo Flowerpiercer, Diglossopis indigotica
    Deep-blue Flowerpiercer, Diglossopis glauca
    Bluish Flowerpiercer, Diglossopis caerulescens
    Masked Flowerpiercer, Diglossopis cyanea

The yellow finches

  • Puna Yellow Finch, Sicalis lutea
    Saffron Finch, Sicalis flaveola
    Grassland Yellow Finch, Sicalis luteola
    Stripe-tailed Yellow Finch, Sicalis citrina
    Bright-rumped Yellow Finch, Sicalis uropygialis
    Citron-headed Yellow Finch, Sicalis luteocephala
    Greater Yellow Finch, Sicalis auriventris
    Greenish Yellow Finch, Sicalis olivascens
    Patagonian Yellow Finch, Sicalis lebruni
    Orange-fronted Yellow Finch, Sicalis columbiana
    Raimondi's Yellow Finch, Sicalis raimondii
    Sulphur-throated Finch, Sicalis taczanowskii
    Wedge-tailed Grass Finch, Emberizoides herbicola
    Duida Grass Finch, Emberizoides duidae
    Lesser Grass Finch, Emberizoides ypiranganus
    Pale-throated Serra Finch, Embernagra longicauda
    Great Pampa Finch, Embernagra platensis
    Yellow Cardinal, Gubernatrix cristata
    Red-crested Cardinal, Paroaria coronata
    Red-cowled Cardinal, Paroaria dominicana
    Red-capped Cardinal, Paroaria gularis
    Crimson-fronted Cardinal, Paroaria baeri
    Yellow-billed Cardinal, Paroaria capitata
    Sooty-faced Finch, Lysurus crassirostris
    Olive Finch, Lysurus castaneiceps
    Yellow-thighed Finch, Pselliophorus tibialis
    Yellow-green Finch, Pselliophorus luteoviridis
    Large-footed Finch, Pezopetes capitalis

The brush finches

  • White-naped Brush Finch, Atlapetes albinucha
    Pale-naped Brush Finch, Atlapetes pallidinucha
    Rufous-naped Brush Finch, Atlapetes rufinucha
    Yellow-breasted Brush Finch, Atlapetes latinuchus
    Yariguies Brush Finch, Atlapetes latinuchus yariguierum
    White-rimmed Brush Finch, Atlapetes leucopis
    Rufous-capped Brush Finch, Atlapetes pileatus
    Santa Marta Brush Finch, Atlapetes melanocephalus
    Olive-headed Brush Finch, Atlapetes flaviceps
    Dusky-headed Brush Finch, Atlapetes fuscoolivaceus
    Tricolored Brush Finch, Atlapetes tricolor
    Moustached Brush Finch, Atlapetes albofrenatus
    Slaty Brush Finch, Atlapetes schistaceus
    Bay-crowned Brush Finch, Atlapetes seebohmi
    Rusty-bellied Brush Finch, Atlapetes nationi
    White-winged Brush Finch, Atlapetes leucopterus
    White-headed Brush Finch, Atlapetes albiceps
    Pale-headed Brush Finch, Atlapetes pallidiceps
    Rufous-eared Brush Finch, Atlapetes rufigenis
    Black-spectacled Brush Finch, Atlapetes melanops
    Ochre-breasted Brush Finch, Atlapetes semirufus
    Fulvous-headed Brush Finch, Atlapetes fulviceps
    Tepui Brush Finch, Atlapetes personatus
    Yellow-striped Brush Finch, Atlapetes citrinellus
    Chestnut-capped Brush Finch, Buarremon brunneinucha
    Green-striped Brush Finch, Buarremon virenticeps
    Stripe-headed Brush Finch, Buarremon torquatus

The American sparrows, including juncos and towhees

  • Orange-billed Sparrow, Arremon aurantiirostris
    Pectoral Sparrow, Arremon taciturnus
    Half-collared Sparrow, Arremon semitorquatus
    Golden-winged Sparrow, Arremon schlegeli
    Black-capped Sparrow, Arremon abeillei
    Saffron-billed Sparrow, Arremon flavirostris
    Olive Sparrow, Arremonops rufivirgatus
    Tocuyo Sparrow, Arremonops tocuyensis
    Green-backed Sparrow, Arremonops chloronotus
    Black-striped Sparrow, Arremonops conirostris
    Rusty-crowned Ground-Sparrow, Melozone kieneri
    Prevost's Ground-Sparrow, Melozone biarcuatum
    White-eared Ground-Sparrow, Melozone leucotis
    Green-tailed Towhee, Pipilo chlorurus
    Collared Towhee, Pipilo ocai
    Socorro Towhee, Pipilo socorroensis
    Eastern Towhee, Pipilo erythrophthalmus
    Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
    California Towhee, Pipilo crissalis
    Canyon Towhee, Pipilo fuscus
    Abert's Towhee, Pipilo aberti
    White-throated Towhee, Pipilo albicollis
    Bridled Sparrow, Aimophila mystacalis
    Black-chested Sparrow, Aimophila humeralis
    Stripe-headed Sparrow, Aimophila ruficauda
    Cinnamon-tailed Sparrow, Aimophila sumichrasti
    Stripe-capped Sparrow, Aimophila strigiceps
    Tumbes Sparrow, Aimophila stolzmanni
    Bachman's Sparrow, Aimophila aestivalis
    Botteri's Sparrow, Aimophila botterii
    Cassin's Sparrow, Aimophila cassinii
    Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Aimophila ruficeps
    Rufous-winged Sparrow, Aimophila carpalis
    Five-striped Sparrow, Aimophila quinquestriata
    Oaxaca Sparrow, Aimophila notosticta
    Rusty Sparrow, Aimophila rufescens
    Striped Sparrow, Oriturus superciliosus
    Zapata Sparrow, Torreornis inexpectata
    American Tree Sparrow, Spizella arborea
    Chipping Sparrow, Spizella passerina
    Clay-colored Sparrow, Spizella pallida
    Brewer's Sparrow, Spizella breweri
    Field Sparrow, Spizella pusilla
    Worthen's Sparrow, Spizella wortheni
    Black-chinned Sparrow, Spizella atrogularis
    Vesper Sparrow, Pooecetes gramineus
    Lark Sparrow, Chondestes grammacus
    Black-throated Sparrow, Amphispiza bilineata
    Sage Sparrow, Amphispiza belli
    Lark Bunting, Calamospiza melanocorys
    Savannah Sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis
    Seaside Sparrow, Ammodramus maritimus
    Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow, Ammodramus nelsoni
    Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow, Ammodramus caudacutus
    Le Conte's Sparrow, Ammodramus leconteii
    Henslow's Sparrow, Ammodramus henslowii
    Baird's Sparrow, Ammodramus bairdii
    Grasshopper Sparrow, Ammodramus savannarum
    Grassland Sparrow, Ammodramus humeralis
    Yellow-browed Sparrow, Ammodramus aurifrons
    Fox Sparrow, Passerella iliaca
    Sierra Madre Sparrow, Xenospiza baileyi
    Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia
    Lincoln's Sparrow, Melospiza lincolnii
    Swamp Sparrow, Melospiza georgiana
    White-crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
    White-throated Sparrow, Zonotrichia albicollis
    Golden-crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
    Rufous-collared Sparrow, Zonotrichia capensis
    Harris's Sparrow, Zonotrichia querula
    Dark-eyed Junco, Junco hyemalis
    Yellow-eyed Junco, Junco phaeonotus
    Guadalupe Junco, Junco insularis
    Volcano Junco, Junco vulcani
Lapland Bunting


  • McCown's Longspur, Calcarius mccownii
    Lapland Longspur, or Lapland Bunting, Calcarius lapponicus
    Smith's Longspur, Calcarius pictus
    Chestnut-collared Longspur, Calcarius ornatus

The ground finches

  • Large Ground Finch, Geospiza magnirostris
    Medium Ground Finch, Geospiza fortis
    Small Ground Finch, Geospiza fuliginosa
    Sharp-beaked Ground Finch, Geospiza difficilis
    Common Cactus Finch, Geospiza scandens
    Large Cactus Finch, Geospiza conirostris

The tree finches

  • Vegetarian Finch, Camarhynchus crassirostris
    Mangrove Finch, Camarhynchus heliobates
    Large Tree Finch, Camarhynchus psittacula
    Small Tree Finch, Camarhynchus parvulus
    Medium Tree Finch, Camarhynchus pauper
    Woodpecker Finch, Camarhynchus pallidus
    Warbler Finch, Certhidea olivacea

External links

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