Our Beautiful World

Tanagers, Genus Tangara

Turquoise Tanager, Tangara mexicana
Paradise Tanager, Tangara chilensis
Green-headed Tanager, Tangara seledon
Red-necked Tanager, Tangara cyanocephala
Golden Tanager, Tangara arthus
Burnished-buff Tanager, Tangara cayana
Gilt-edged Tanager, Tangara cyanoventris
Brassy-breasted Tanager, Tangara desmarestis

Seven-colored Tanager, Tangara_fastuosa
Photo: © Marcos Massarioli

Tangara is a large genus of birds of the tanager family. It includes about 50 species, but as currently defined the genus is polyphyletic.[1] All are from the Neotropics, and while most are fairly widespread, some have small distributions and are threatened. They are fairly small, ranging in size from 11.5–15 centimetres (4.5–5.9 in). This genus includes some of the most spectacularly colored birds of the world.

These tanagers are mainly found high in forest canopies, but some occupy more open habitat. They are found at all elevations below tree line but are most diverse in the Andean subtropical and foothill forests of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

The female builds a usually well concealed cup nest and lays two brown- or lilac-speckled white eggs. These hatch in 13–14 days and the chicks fledge in a further 15–16 days. The male and female feed the nestlings on insects and fruit, and may be assisted by helpers.

Tangara tanagers pick insects from leaves, or sometimes in flight, but fruit is a major dietary item, accounting for 53-86% of food items in those species which have been studied.

Genus Tangara

Plain-colored Tanager, Tangara inornata
Turquoise Tanager, Tangara mexicana
    White-bellied Tanager, Tangara mexicana brasiliensis
Azure-rumped Tanager, Tangara cabanisi
Gray-and-gold Tanager, Tangara palmeri
Paradise Tanager, Tangara chilensis
Seven-colored Tanager, Tangara fastuosa
Green-headed Tanager, Tangara seledon
Red-necked Tanager, Tangara cyanocephala
Brassy-breasted Tanager, Tangara desmaresti
Gilt-edged Tanager, Tangara cyanoventris
Blue-whiskered Tanager, Tangara johannae
Green-and-gold Tanager, Tangara schrankii
Emerald Tanager, Tangara florida
Golden Tanager, Tangara arthus
Silver-throated Tanager, Tangara icterocephala
Golden-eared Tanager, Tangara chrysotis
Saffron-crowned Tanager, Tangara xanthocephala
Flame-faced Tanager, Tangara parzudakii
Yellow-bellied Tanager, Tangara xanthogastra
Spotted Tanager, Tangara punctata
Speckled Tanager, Tangara guttata
Dotted Tanager, Tangara varia
Rufous-throated Tanager, Tangara rufigula
Bay-headed Tanager, Tangara gyrola
Rufous-winged Tanager, Tangara lavinia
Burnished-buff Tanager, Tangara cayana
Black-backed Tanager, Tangara peruviana
Lesser Antillean Tanager, Tangara cucullata
Chestnut-backed Tanager, Tangara preciosa
Scrub Tanager, Tangara vitriolina
Green-capped Tanager, Tangara meyerdeschauenseei
Rufous-cheeked Tanager, Tangara rufigenis
Golden-naped Tanager, Tangara ruficervix
Metallic-green Tanager, Tangara labradorides
Blue-browed Tanager, Tangara cyanotis
Blue-necked Tanager, Tangara cyanicollis
Golden-hooded Tanager, Tangara larvata
Masked Tanager, Tangara nigrocincta
Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Tangara dowii
Green-naped Tanager, Tangara fucosa
Beryl-spangled Tanager, Tangara nigroviridis
Blue-and-black Tanager, Tangara vassorii
Black-capped Tanager, Tangara heinei
Sira Tanager, Tangara phillipsi
Silver-backed Tanager, Tangara viridicollis
Straw-backed Tanager, Tangara argyrofenges
Black-headed Tanager, Tangara cyanoptera
Opal-rumped Tanager, Tangara velia
    Silvery-breasted Tanager, Tangara velia cyanomelas
Opal-crowned Tanager, Tangara callophrys

Turquoise Tanager, Tangara mexicana

Turquoise Tanager

The Turquoise Tanager, Tangara mexicana, is a medium-sized passerine bird. This tanager is a resident bird from Trinidad,
Colombia and Venezuela south to Bolivia and much of Brazil (despite its scientific name, it is not found in Mexico).
It is restricted to areas with humid forest, with its primary distribution being the Amazon, while a disjunct population occurs
in the Atlantic Forest of eastern Brazil. The latter population is sometimes considered a separate species, the White-bellied
Tanager, Tangara brasiliensis.

It occurs in forest, woodland and cultivation. The bulky cup nest is built in a tree or shrub, and the female incubates three
brown-blotched grey-green eggs.

Adult Turquoise Tanagers are 14 cm long and weigh 20 g. They are long-tailed and with a dark stout pointed bill. The adult
is mainly dark blue and black, with turquoise edging to the primaries. Most races have yellow lower underparts, but this is
paler, more cream in the nominate subspecies found in north-eastern South America.

Turquoise Tanager, Tangara mexicana, North Carolina
Photo: Dick Daniels

The Trinidadian race, Tangara mexicana vieiloti, has a darker blue head and breast and more vividly yellow underparts
than the mainland taxa. The taxon brasiliensis differs more conspicuously, it having an overall duller blue plumage, blue
edging to the primaries and a white belly.

These are social birds usually found in groups. They eat a wide variety of fruit and also take insects, often gleaned from twigs.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turquoise_Tanager

Paradise Tanager, Tangara chilensis

An adult Paradise Tanager at Denver Zoo, USA
Photo: Drew Avery

The Paradise Tanager, Tangara chilensis, is a brilliantly multicolored, medium-sized songbird whose length varies between
13.5 and 15 cm. It has a light green head, sky blue underparts and black upper body plumage. Depending on subspecies,
the rump is yellow and red or all red. The beak is black and the legs are grey.

Found in humid tropical and subtropical forests in the western and northern Amazon Basin in South America, it occurs in
Venezuela, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil and the Guianas. Despite its scientific name, it is not found in Chile.
The Paradise Tanager is common throughout its range.

Green-headed Tanager, Tangara seledon

Green-headed Tanager Tangara seledon
Photo: Dario Sanches

The Green-headed Tanager, Tangara seledon, is a bird found in Atlantic forest in south-eastern Brazil, far eastern Paraguay
and far north-eastern Argentina (Misiones only).

As other members of the genus Tangara, it is a small colorful bird, measuring an average of 13.5 centimeters.
While essentially a bird of humid forests, it is also common in orchards and parks, where it moves through the canopy,
making itself inconspicuous, as its apparently flashy blue-green coloration camouflages it well amongst the foliage.

It is also a regular attendant at bird tables, where its active behavior makes it far more conspicuous. Eats fruits and insects,
chasing the latter from a perch.

Canopy of a forest

For forests, canopy refers to the upper layer or habitat zone, formed by mature tree crowns and including other biological organisms (epiphytes, lianas, arboreal animals, etc).

Sometimes the term canopy is used to refer to the extent of the outer layer of leaves of an individual tree or group of trees. Shade trees normally have a dense canopy that blocks light from lower growing plants.

Dominant and co-dominant canopy trees form the uneven canopy layer. Canopy trees are able to photosynthesize relatively
rapidly due to abundant light, so it supports the majority of primary productivity in forests.[citation needed] The canopy layer
provides protection from strong winds and storms, while also intercepting sunlight and precipitation, leading to a relatively
sparsely vegetated understory layer.
Text and photo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canopy_(biology)

Red-necked Tanager, Tangara cyanocephala

Red-necked Tanager, Tangara cyanocephala
Photo: Dario Sanches

The Red-necked Tanager, Tangara cyanocephala, is a species of bird in the Thraupidae family.

It is found in Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and
heavily degraded former forest.

Golden Tanager, Tangara arthus

Tangara arthus, Tierpark, Berlin

The Golden Tanager, Tangara arthus, is a species of bird in the Thraupidae family. It is widespread and often common in
highland forests of the Andes (from Bolivia and northwards) and Venezuelan Coastal Range in north-western South America.

Its plumage is overall golden-yellow with black to the back, wings, tail and ear-coverts. Some subspecies are partially/largely brown below.

Burnished-buff Tanager, Tangara cayana

Burnished-buff Tanager, Tangara cayana
Photo: © www.arthurgrosset.com

The Burnished-buff Tanager, Tangara cayana, also known as the Rufous-crowned Tanager, is a common South American
species of bird in the Thraupidae family.

It is found in the northern Guianas, most of Venezuela and east-central Colombia; also near the Amazon River outlet in Brazil,
as well as most of the east of that country, Paraguay and northeast Argentina. It also occurs very locally in Bolivia and Peru.
It can be seen in virtually any semi-open habitat with trees, including human-altered habitats such as gardens, plantations and

There are several subspecies of the Burnished-buff Tanager, them falling into two main groups: The northern and western
cayana group, and the southern and eastern flava group (the subspecies huberi from Marajó Island is intermediate between
the two main groups). Males of the cayana group have an orange-rufous crown, black mask, and cream underparts distinctly
tinged blue on the throat and chest. Males of the flava group have an orange-buff crown, and buff underparts with a black
patch extending from the mask, over the throat and central chest, to the mid-belly. Males of both groups have turquoise wings
and tail. Females are duller than the males, and have black restricted to a poorly demarcated "shadow" of a mask.

Brazilian pepper-tree is a shrub or small tree that reaches over 30 feet in height, typically
with a short trunk hidden in a thicket of branches. Some trees can live over 30 years.
The leaves are alternately arranged with 1-2 inch long, elliptic, and finely toothed leaflets.
The leaves are also reddish, often possessing a reddish mid-rib. The flower clusters are
white and 2-3 inches long with male and female flowers that look very similar. The glossy
fruits are borne in clusters that are initially green, becoming bright red when ripe.
Seeds are dark brown and 0.3 mm in diameter. Flowering occurs from September
through November and fruits are usually mature by December.
Text and pictures: © http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/node/405

It is a generally common, and usually seen singly or in pairs. As all tanagers, it is a largely frugivorous species, being particularly
fond of the fruits of the native Cecropia and Brazilian Pepper as well as that of introduced Magnoliaceae such as Michelia

Gilt-edged Tanager, Tangara cyanoventris

Gilt-edged Tanager, Tangara cyanoventris
Photo: © www.arthurgrosset.com

The Gilt-edged Tanager, Tangara cyanoventris, is a species of bird in the Thraupidae family. It is endemic to Brazil.

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical moist montane forests,
and heavily degraded former forest. They inhabit forest and secondary growth as well as clearings and tend to be found
between 500 and 1,000 metres asl.

They are golden-yellow above with heavy black streaks on the back and lighter black streaks on the crown. Underparts are mostly turquoise moving to green on the lower belly and yellow on the lower flanks. The forehead and throat are black.
Source: © www.arthurgrosset.com

Brassy-breasted Tanager, Tangara desmarestis

Brassy-breasted Tanager Tangara desmaresti
Photo: © www.arthurgrosset.com

The Brassy-breasted Tanager is a Brazilian endemic found in and on the edges of the Atlantic Rain Forest of south-east Brazil.
It forages for fruit and insects in the canopies of trees and is often in small groups of about a dozen individuals.

It is emerald green with black streaks above with a black round the bill and turquoise on the forecrown and round the eyes.
There is a dark patch on the throat while the breast is brassy ochre and the belly is bright green with a yellow line down the
centre of the belly.
Source: © www.arthurgrosset.com


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