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Blue Black Grassquit - Male

Waterloo, Trinidad

  Blue Black Grassquit

Glossy blue-black with black wings and tail. It has white axillaries that are seen in flight. Females and immature have dull brown upperparts with  somewhat darker brown on wings and tail and yellow brown underparts with brown streaking on the breast. Their size is between 45 - 51 mm and weigh between 8 - 11gm.

This is a common resident of Trinidad and Tobago found in savannahs and cultivated areas. It feeds on grass seeds and insects. They are generally seen singly but form flocks when feeding especially in the evenings. The male has a display ritual where he perches on an exposed branch and jumps approximately one to two feet to alight on the same branch. During the jump the tail is spread and he utters a wheezing note. This jump is repeated several times. The objective of the jump is to gain height so that the call note can be heard over a greater distance.

Other Names - Glossy Grassquit, Johnny Jump-up

Latin Name - Volatinia jacarina

Range - Mexico through Central and South America


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Blue Black Grassquit - Male

Waterloo, Trinidad


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Female Blue Black Grassquit -

Blanchissuesse, Trinidad


Seo, E. 2001. "Volatinia jacarina" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web.  at

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Birds of the World, David Alderton. 2004 Lorenz Books, London

Birds of Venezuela. Steven L. Hilty. 2003, Christopher Helm, London

A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago. 2nd edition, Richard ffrench. 1992, Helm, London

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Last modified: February 16, 2008