Want to Know Everything About the Carduelis Magellanica? Learn it here

The Carduelis Magellanica, is a species of bird family of the goldfinches which belongs to the family of the fringílidos, this one has a great quantity of names by which it is known among them the most popular is the Cabecita Negra. In the following article we will know more about this bird which sings to the female in order to reproduce.

The Carduelis Magellanica

This bird has a lot of names for which it is very well known among them we have the:

But it is more commonly known as the Cabecita Negra ( Carduelis Magellanica ) this is a bird belonging to the family of the fringilids. (see article: Goldfinch bird ) ).


This species tends to measure between 10 to 14 cm. The male is usually greenish above and yellow below, the head has a kind of black hood that is characteristic, the nape and neck is greenish yellow, the rump is yellow, the wings and tail are totally black with yellow stripes which are very striking in flight.

In the case of the female it does not have the hood that the male has, its head is grayish, its back is a little paler and the underside is more greenish than yellow. Juveniles are more similar to the female.


There are eleven catalogued subspecies, but in the field they are sometimes very difficult to distinguish:

The Carduelis Magellanica Magellanica

It is the nominal form that is located in the regions of the Southeast of Argentina and Uruguay, this is known as the Porteñito by the hunters. It has a large hood, with black on the throat that extends to the chest, hence the name Corbatudo. It measures 11 to 12 cm in length.

The Carduelis Magellanica Capitalis

This was described by Cabanis, in the year 1866 its location is in the center and South of Colombia, in the regions of Ecuador and in the Northwest of Peru. It has a short hood that reaches only to the throat, in the areas of the belly is golden yellow, the obispillo is yellow which is uniform with the back, although it tends to show small lists.

The tertiary feathers are mottled white at the tip and a wide wing stripe is yellow. In the case of the female they have a yellow back, from the throat to the breast areas which are also yellow and then the belly is a pale gray.

The Carduelis Magellanica Paula

This species was discovered by Todd, in the year 1926 seen in the South of Ecuador, and in the West of Peru. It is very similar to the capitalis but with a difference in that the back is clear and without lists, the obispillo is yellow and the yellow of the wings and the tail are less showy than the other one. The belly is also greenish yellow. The female has a gray back, the obispillo is yellow and the belly is more greenish yellow.

The Carduelis Magellanica Peruana

This was discovered in the year 1896 its location is in Central Peru. The back of this species is of green color, the yellow obispillo little showy. The female has a back a little more olive green than gray.

The Carduelis Magellanica Urubambensis

Described by Todd, in the year 1926, it is located in the limits from the South of Peru to the North of Chile. The largest of this class is about 14 cm long. It is very similar to the Peruvian breed with the difference that the belly is more pale gray or greenish with white in the area of the anal region.

The Carduelis Magellanica Boliviana

This species can be found in the West of Mato Grosso and Bolivia. The male has a black breast to the chest and is also found on the sides of the body.The back is very striated is black, the undertail coverts are black and with a yellow that is very striking on the sides of the tail feathers. In the case of the female in the part of the head it has a “shadow” of the black mask of the male (see article): Yellow Goldfinch ).

The Carduelis Magellanica Allenii

Located in southeastern Bolivia and northeastern Argentina. It is smaller than the icterica and its abdomen is more yellowish in color. It has a short hood, which makes much more contrast in black and yellow in the feathers of the wings and tail.

The Carduelis Magellanica Icterica

It is located in the Southeast, Center of Brazil up to the province of Rio Negro in Argentina, also in the East and South of Paraguay. It is a little more greenish and a little smaller than the nominal species.

The Carduelis Magellanica Longirostris

It is found in the regions of Guyana, in the North of Brazil and in the Southeast of Venezuela. This species tends to measure about 13 cm. The bill is 11 mm long, the longest of all species.

The Carduelis Magellanica Tucumana

It can be found in the North and Center of Argentina. It reaches a size of 14 cm. Its body is robust, the back is greenish and striped with brown, the underparts are greenish, the hood is very short at the back and just to the throat.

The Carduelis Magellanica Hoyi

It can be found in the northwestern regions of Argentina. There is not much information about its size and characteristics.

The Carduelis Magellanica Santaecrucis

The Carduelis Magellanica Santaecrucis is located in eastern and central Bolivia. It is very similar to the nominal form but with the difference that it has a white belly.


Its habitat tends to be very varied, it is adapted to many biotopes and altitudes, from sea level to 5,000 meters above sea level in the regions of Chile. It likes to be in gardens and city parks. It prefers mountainous areas which are rich in forests and thickets.


The Black-headed Lovebird ( Carduelis Magellanica ) feeds on all kinds of seeds and grains, but during the breeding season it tends to look for small insects such as aphids, which belong to the family of the Aphididae, in order to feed its young. Meet the Albino Goldfinch here .

Outside the breeding season, in the cities they usually gather in large flocks in order to feed on the seeds of Fraxinus pensylvannica. They search in the fields with flowers of Bidens pilosa, Vernonia sp. and Gynerium argenteum to feed on their immature seeds. Also in the forests of Sapipuras they are the Bowdichia virgillioides and in the Araucarias.


Between the months of October to March the male and female separate from the flock in order to locate a breeding territory. The male chases the female, singing continuously and showing his black throat. Mating takes place 7 days before nest building begins.

The female without the help of the male builds the nest in only 7 to 9 days. The male uses materials such as plant fibers, stems and thin sticks to give it a structure, and inside it is usually covered with a lot of wool and hairs. It is then placed at the end of a tree branch such as a eucalyptus or a conifer, at a height of about 3 or 4 meters above the ground.

The clutch is usually composed of about 3 or 4 eggs that are bluish-white with some kind of small spots of brown and black colors, have a length of 16.5 mm, its width is 12.4 mm, the weight of the same is 1.5 grams. Both the incubation and the initial care of the young is the responsibility of the female and after a few days the male begins to collaborate.


It consists of a kind of high-pitched trills and certain other notes emitted very fast. These species sing for more than 2 minutes in an uninterrupted way, varying the sounds and changing the tone in order to embellish and break the monotony of the phrase.

When a male tends to sing, it spreads to the rest of the others, forming different groups of chorus in the same tree. They have their moments of singing that usually is more or less in the mornings or in the afternoons when the weather is cooler. When they go in flocks they usually maintain contact between the group permanently by means of their incessant whistling. Discover the Golden Goldfinch and much more about it .

Life expectancy

Birds in captivity can live up to 11 to 14 years of age, as long as they are well cared for and do not fall victim to accidents.

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