Spiza americana – Dickcissel

Spiza americana – Dickcissel in United States

The dickcissel, known in Latin to be Spiza americana is a seed-eating in the family of Cardinalidae. It breeds in the Midwest and winters in Central America, northern Colombia, and Venezuela. It is the only Spiza species, though some sources list an extinct species.

 Spiza americana – Dickcissel in United States
Male Spiza americana – Dickcissel with bright plumage. Source: Wikipedia

Quick Overview: Spiza Americana – Dickcissel
Body size: Around 5.5-6.3 in (14–16 cm) in length and weighed 25.6-38.4 g (0.9-1.4 oz )
Main colors: Gray, Brown, Yellow, Black, White
Range: Central and Southern United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: June, July, August, September
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Dickcissel Description

These dickcissels could be easily distinguished because of a short tail and a heavy, cone-shaped bill. The male’s head, back, and belly are all gray, with brown shoulders and a brown chest. He has a bright yellow breast with a black bib and yellow eyebrows, and he has yellow eyelashes. In contrast to the male, the female has brown undersides and does not have any distinguishing characteristics such as a black bib, a yellow breast, or eyebrows, only a white underparts and yellow chest.

 Spiza americana – Dickcissel in the United States
Female Spiza americana – Dickcissel. Photo by: Joseph Gage


These medium-sized birds are 5.5-6.3 in (14–16 cm) in length and weighed 25.6-38.4 g (0.9-1.4 oz). Its wingspan could range around 9.8- 10.2 in (24.8- 26cm).


Forage for seeds and insects on the ground is what the dickcissel does. Dickcissels feed in flocks during the winter months and are regarded as a pest by farmers.


The dickcissel can be found in fields of grain and in weedy areas. Dickcissel populations may shift as a result of changes in food sources.


In the past, the dickcissel was a common bird in the farmlands of the eastern United States and Canada. On the east coast, there are still small, isolated populations of this species.

Spiza americana Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Cardinalidae
  • Genus: Spiza
  • Species: Spiza americana

Best time of the year to see

The best time of the year you could these birds in the United States is during the summer season (June to September).  

Distribution of the Dickcissel in the USA

In the United States, the dickcissel can be found throughout the central region, from North Dakota southward to Texas and eastward to Ohio, Tennessee and Alabama. It spends the winter in the southern United States and southern Mexico, as well as South America.

The Dickcissel can also be found in the following states in the United States – Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Spiza americana – Dickcissel

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