Three distinct subspecies of the Zapata (or Cuban) Sparrow have been described. Originally discovered in Zapata by Fermin Cervera in the early years of the 20th century, only in more recent decades were new subspecies discovered, on Cayo Coco (discovered by Pedro Regalado) and in the region of Baitiquirí, in the extreme east of the main island. The latter is rather duller than the two other subspecies and lives in desert scrub dominated by tall columnar cacti. This is the Cayo Coco subspecies (T. i. varonai), which is certainly the easiest to see. The species is ironically rather uncommon in the Zapata region.