• Skip to Content
  • Skip to Main Navigation
  • Skip to Local Navigation
  • Skip to Search
  • Skip to Sitemap
  • Skip to Footer
Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Dickcissel

Spiza americana ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: CARDINALIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A sparrow-like bird of the prairie grasslands of the United States, the Dickcissel congregates in huge flocks in migration and on its tropical grassland wintering grounds. The breeding male is colored like a tiny meadowlark, with a black "V" on a yellow chest.

Drink Birds & Beans coffee. Save our birds.
ML Essential Set

Appearance

Sparrowlike
Sparrowlike
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Small songbird.
  • Stout, pointed bill.
  • Rusty patch on shoulders.
  • Yellow or yellowish on chest.
  • Breeding male has large black "V" on yellow chest.

Male Description

Breeding (Alternate) Plumage: Streaked grayish head. Yellow stripe above eyes. Chin white. Thin black stripes at sides of throat. Black throat patch extending onto breast in a point. Chest bright yellow. Belly light gray. Back brown with black streaks. Tail and wings blackish. Chestnut shoulder patch.
Nonbreeding (Basic) Plumage: Black bib partly concealed by pale whitish to yellowish feather tips.

Female Description

Duller face and head pattern, with light yellow stripe over eyes. Throat whitish, with faint, thin dark stripes at sides. Breast dull yellow. Belly light gray. Thin dark streaks on flanks. Back brown with black streaks. Wings and tail blackish. Pale chestnut shoulder patch.

Immature Description

Immature similar to adult female, but duller. Yearling male with little black on chest.

Range Map Help

Dickcissel Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

Similar Species

Similar Species

  • Female House Sparrow similar to female Dickcissel, but is stockier, lacks the thin black streaks on the sides of the throat and any streaks on flanks, has a shorter, blunter, yellowish, not bluish bill, rounded wings, and a broader, less yellow eyestripe.
  • Meadowlarks have yellow chests with a black "V," but are much larger and stockier, with short tails with white outer tail feathers, and long, thin bills.

    You Might Also Like

    eBird Occurrence Maps, Dickcissel