CUBS Bird Guide : Panama

Yellow-faced Grassquit

Regional Species

The Yellow-faced Grassquit is a small grayish-green finch that frequently is seen searching for small grass seeds in open fields, pastures, roadsides, and gardens. The Yellow-faced Grassquit often travels in loose flocks, sometimes associating with other species. Their diet is primarily made up of small grass seeds, but when grass seeds become scarce the Yellow-faced Grassquit also forages for berries and insects.


Habitat TownsThe Yellow-faced Grassquit is often found in open fields, pastures, roadsides, edges of forests, and gardens while it forages on small grass seeds.


Food SeedsThe Yellow-faced Grassquit finds food by hopping among grasslands, low shrubs and gardens. Its preferred food is the small grass seeds found in pastures or on the ground. When seeds are scarce, the Yellow-faced Grassquit eats small berries and insects.


Behavior Ground ForagerThe Yellow-faced Grassquit has a peculiar courtship. The male perches a few centimeters from the female while he sings and raises his wings making them vibrate. This behavior continues after mating and often during the nest construction. The Yellow-faced Grassquit can seek food alone, but more frequently they forage in pairs. When they are not reproducing, they can form large mixed flocks of several dozens birds.


Nest ShrubThe nest of the Yellow-faced Grassquit is shaped in a globular form. It has thick walls and an entrance on the side. The nest is made up of straw, grass, leaves, and weeds, and it is placed in a grass tussock or in a low bush. Both sexes build the nest, although the two birds rarely work together. The male starts building the nest, but does not contribute much further. After the female finishes building the nest, she usually lays 2 eggs; sometimes she lays 3 eggs, and rarely 4 eggs. She incubates the eggs alone. Both parents feed the young.


Size & Shape

The Yellow-faced Grassquit is a small finch of about 10-11 cm. The shape of its bill is conical and pointed, which helps to distinguish it from other similar species with more rounded bills.

Color Pattern

The Yellow-faced Grassquit is a grayish-green finch. The male Yellow-faced Grassquit has a very conspicuous contrasting facial pattern, which distinguishes it from any other species. The duller female may be more confusing. However, she is more olive in color than most female seedeaters.

Similar Species

It would be difficult to confuse the male Yellow-faced Grassquit, with its conspicuous, contrasting facial pattern, for any other species. The duller female may be more confusing. The shape of bill - conical and pointed - helps to distinguish the grassquit from superficially similar species of seedeaters, which have bills that are more rounded. The female grassquit also is more olive in color than most female seedeaters.

Did you know?!

  • During courtship, the Yellow-faced Grassquit male perches a few centimeters in front of the female as he raises and vibrates his wings while singing. This display continues after the pair have mated and often until the nest is under construction.

  • The Yellow-faced Grassquit may forage alone, or more frequently in pairs. When it is not breeding, it is often found in mixed flocks of up to 100 birds.