Yellow-bellied siskin | American birds

   ›      ›   Yellow-bellied siskin - Spinus xanthogastrus

The yellow-bellied siskin (Spinus xanthogastrus) belongs to the family of finches and siskins, the Fringillidae.

The yellow-bellied siskin is distributed in Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. These siskin species are being illegally captured for caged-bird trade. These siskins are polytypic species.

Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Yellow-bellied Siskin Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Appearance, physical description and identification

The yellow-bellied siskin (Spinus xanthogastrus) is a small siskin, measuring 10 to 12 cm in length and weighing 11 to 14 grams.

The male yellow-bellied siskin has overall black plumage. The belly region and undertail coverts are yellowish. There is a yellowish patch on the black wing. The females and juveniles have olive green upperparts and pale yellowish green underparts.

The bill is pale gray, short, conical and sharp. The legs are short and grayish. The irises are blackish. There is a pale eye-ring. Their call is a soft whistling, twittering sound.
Bird World - Image of Yellow-bellied siskin - Spinus xanthogastrus
1.Bird World - Yellow-bellied siskin - Spinus xanthogastrus
Image by Alejandro Bayer Tamayo


Bird World - Image of Yellow-bellied siskin - Spinus xanthogastrus
2.Bird World - Yellow-bellied siskin - Spinus xanthogastrus
Image by julian londono

Bird World - Image of Yellow-bellied siskin - Spinus xanthogastrus
3.Bird World - Yellow-bellied siskin - Spinus xanthogastrus
Image by Alejandro Bayer Tamayo

Origin, geographical range and distribution

The yellow-bellied siskin is distributed over Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia in South America. In North America, they occur in Costa Rica and Panama.

The siskin nominate subspecies S. x. xanthogastrus is distributed in Costa Rica, western Panama, north and northwest Venezuela, Colombia, western Ecuador and northwest Peru.

The subspecies S. x. stejnegeri is distributed in southwest Peru and west Bolivia.

Ecosystem and habitat

The yellow-bellied siskin species have low forest dependence. They normally occurs in altitudes between 1400 to 3700 meters.

The artificial ecosystems and habitats of these species include heavily degraded forests and coffee plantations.

The natural ecosystems and habitats of these siskin species include tropical and subtropical moist montane forests, tropical and subtropical high altitude grasslands and high altitude shrublands.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of the yellow-bellied siskin species consists mainly of plant matter like seeds and leaves. Berries, insects, leaves and seeds are their primary food.

They mostly forage for insects and flowers in the middle and upper canopy. They occasionally descent to the floor to feed on insects.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of the yellow-bellied siskin species is from March to May. These birds are monogamous and territorial. The breeding habitat includes small trees with thick foliage.

The siskin nest is a thick cup woven with rootlets, plant fiber and lichen. The female incubates the eggs. The clutch contains 2-3 white eggs with greenish tinge.

Migration and movement patterns

The yellow-bellied siskin species are non-migratory, resident birds. The populations living in higher elevation move down to lower levels during the winter months.

Post breeding, the juveniles may disperse and establish in new locations within the range. Within their range they may make local movements for feeding and breeding.

Yellow-bellied siskin - Quick Facts

  • Scientific name: Spinus xanthogastrus
  • Species author: ( Du Bus de Gisignies), 1855
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Chrysomitris xanthogastra du Bus de Gisignies, 1855
  • Family: Fringillidae › Passeriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Yellow-bellied siskin Chinese: 黄腹金翅雀, French: Tarin à ventre jaune, German: Gelbbauchzeisig, Spanish: Jilguero ventriamarillo, Russian: Желтобрюхий чиж, Japanese: キバラクロヒワ
  • Other names: Yellow-bellied Siskin
  • Distribution: North America, South America
  • Diet and feeding habits: seeds, insects, flowers
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the yellow-bellied siskin (Spinus xanthogastrus) has not been quantified. The overall population trend of the species is considered to be decreasing.

In most of its range, this species is reported to be 'fairly common but patchily distributed' (Stotz et al. 1996). The generation length is 4.2 years. Its distribution size is about 4,480,000 sq.km.

Ecosystem degradation, ecosystem conversion and capture of adult and juvenile bird for pet-trade are the main threats that may endanger the survival of the species.

IUCN and CITES status

The yellow-bellied siskin (Spinus xanthogastrus) species does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable either under the range size criterion, or under the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the siskin species and has listed it as of "Least Concern".

The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for the yellow-bellied siskin (Spinus xanthogastrus).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Spinus xanthogastrus
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Passeriformes
Family:Fringillidae
Subfamily:-
Genus:Spinus
Species:S. xanthogastrus
Binomial name:Spinus xanthogastrus
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
The yellow-bellied siskin (Spinus xanthogastrus) is closely related to the hooded siskin (Spinus magellanicus).

The two recognized subspecies of the yellow-bellied siskin (Spinus xanthogastrus) are:
Spinus xanthogastrus xanthogastrus (du Bus de Gisignies, 1855) and
Spinus xanthogastrus stejnegeri (Sharpe, 1888).
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1.Yellow-bellied siskin image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alejobayer/15660219993/ (cropped)
Image author: Alejandro Bayer Tamayo | License: Public domain as on 10/31/18
2.Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/aralcal/4265692522/ (cropped)
Image author: julian londono | License: CC BY-SA 2.0 as on 10/31/18
3.Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alejobayer/15657667804/ (cropped)
Image author: Alejandro Bayer Tamayo | License: Public domain as on 10/31/18
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