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For many years the population of Prevost’s Ground-Sparrow found in Costa Rica was considered a subspecies despite its great differences in plumage, vocalizations, morphometrics and genetics.  After research conducted in recent years it was elevated to species level in 2017, Cabanis’s Ground-Sparrow, making it  endemic to a restricted area in Costa Rica.  The majority of its population is apparently concentrated in the Central Valley and some surrounding areas such as Los Santos, Turrialba and Monteverde.


Citizen Science

Our projects are citizen science based, involving the general public with direct participation.

Understanding for conservation

We believe learning about our subjects is essential for their protection.

Spread the word

Learning about these species is worth nothing if we do not share the information,  educating the public about our findings is essential.


The IUCN considers the Cabanis’s Ground-Sparrow’s conservation status as of “Least Concern,” but we believe this information is not accurate and is misleading as to the reality of this species.

Cabanisi Project

Why needs quick action

Loss of habitat.  The loss of habitat is by far the largest and most immediate threat to the Cabanis’s Ground-Sparrow.  This species prefers young, scrubby vegetation and traditional agricultural fields.  Coffee plantations are quite similar in structure to the ground-sparrow’s original habitat, thus being benefited by the increase in coffee production in Costa Rica during the early 1900s.  However, during the last two decades Costa Rica’s Central Valley and surrounding areas have suffered a drastic change as agriculture has given way to urban sprawl.  This land use transformation is leading to reduced habitat and loss of connectivity between the different populations.  Other factors affecting the Cabanis’s Ground-Sparrow include parasitism by two species of cowbirds (Bronzed and Shiny) and the abundance of feral house cats.

Video about the status of Cabanis's Ground-Sparrow in Costa Rica in 2016, produced by Teletica 

(in Spanish).


Our priority with research is to collect data that will help change this species’ conservation status to one that matches its reality.  Our main focus is on distribution, habitat preference and home range, as well as mapping habitat change at our main study site in the Ujarrás Valley.


Once a year we organize a country-wide survey of the Cabanis’s Ground-Sparrow with two specific goals in mind:  It is a great way to educate the public about this species and create awareness and at the same time collect important distributional data at a country-wide level.


We have developed an education program in which we inform the general public about this species and the issues surrounding its conservation.  We are working directly with farmers to put in practice agricultural methods that will benefit their crops as well as providing habitat for the Cabanis’s Ground-Sparrow. 


How can 

We believe the first step towards preserving the Cabanis’s Ground-Sparrow is to conduct research that will help us better understand this species’ requirements for survival. During the first phase of the Cabanisi Project, funded by Get your Birds and Cafe Cristina, we completed preliminary surveys in the Ujarrás Valley, Costa Rica to have a population estimate and we collected important data on its natural history, such as breeding biology, diet and vocalizations.

you help

The funds raised during this cause will be used to cover the costs of the next phase of our research in which we will intensify surveys and mapping of remnant habitat. All of the collected data will be published and will serve as evidence to present to authorities to reassess the actual conservation status of the Cabanis’s Ground-Sparrow. 

Reporte sus avistamientos

Usted también puede colaborar reportando si observó un Pinzón Cafetalero o Cabanis's Ground-Sparrow. Los informes de los científicos ciudadanos (usted y nosotros) en patios traseros, comederos, carreteras, fincas o cualquier sitio en todo el área de distribución de esta especie son importantes para los esfuerzos del Proyecto Cabanisi para aprender más sobre las poblaciones, distribuciones y actividad de estas aves.


Ya que no podemos trabajar simultáneamente en todo el Valle Central y demás localidades, el reporte de avistamientos es de suma importancia para el proyecto.

Tome en cuenta lo siguiente:

Su rango de distribución es el Valle Central (desde Atenas de Alajuela a Paraíso de Cartago), Turrialba, Los Santos y el sector oeste de Monteverde.

Su hábitat corresponde principalmente a matorrales, cafetales con sombra y bosques secundarios jóvenes.

Por lo general se le observa forrajeando en el suelo rascando con ambas patas y en pareja. 

Si observa dos o tres individuos y uno de ellos parece tener un plumaje más oscuro y el pico amarillo, puede tratarse de un volantón (cría). Por favor indicarlo en la casilla de observaciones.

Puede enviar fotografías y/o videos a o hacer el reporte en nuestro grupo de Facebook . 

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