On 30 January Samuel Taylor observed and photographed an ABA Code-4 Yellow-faced Grassquit (Tiaris olivaceus) at Goose Island State Park north of Rockport, Texas.
Yellow-faced Grassquit is resident on the Gulf slope of northeast Mexico (central Nuevo Leon and southern Tamaulipas) south to the Pacific slope of northern Ecuador (ABA Checklist,Seventh Edition, Pranty et al.). They are resident in the Greater Antilles with the nominate subspecies, T. o. olivaceous, occurring there. They feed primarily on the seeds of various grasses including Paspalum sp., the seeds which are highly nutritious. In its range, Yellow-faced Grassquit may number as many as 5 million individuals (IUCN estimate) and the population is predicted to continue to increase (Birdlife International 2009).
Where resident in northern Mexico, Yellow-faced Grassquit prefers semiarid weedy fields, second growth, and forest edge. There are three reports of this species from South Texas between January 1990 and 29 September 2003,plus an immature female was reported last year in late December from Laredo, Texas, in more typical habitat, “reedy cane” (Chip Clouse, pers. comm.).