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Ramphocelus bresilius04.jpg
Brazilian tanager (Ramphocelus bresilius)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Thraupidae
Genus: Ramphocelus
Desmarest, 1805

See species list

Ramphocelus is a Neotropical genus of birds of the tanager family. They have enlarged shiny whitish or bluish-grey lower mandibles, which are pointed upwards in display. However, this is greatly reduced in the females of most species. Males are black and red, orange or yellow, while females resemble a duller version of the males, or are brownish or greyish combined with dull red, orange or yellowish.

Ramphocelus tanagers are found in semi-open areas. The nest is a cup built by the female of plant materials such as moss, rootlets, and strips of large leaves like banana or Heliconia, and is often in a fairly open site in a tree. The female usually lays pale blue eggs, with grey, brown or lavender spots, and the young stay in the nest for only about 12 days.

The songs of this genus are repetitions of rich one- or two-syllable whistles.

Ramphocelus tanagers hunt at forest edges or in second growth, taking insects in flight or picking them from leaves


The genus Ramphocelus was introduced by the French zoologist Anselme Gaëtan Desmarest in 1805.[1] The name combines the Ancient Greek words rhamphos "bill" and koilos "concave".[2]

The crimson-collared tanager is sometimes placed in a genus of its own as Phlogothraupis sanguinolenta (Howell and Webb 1995), and a genetic study suggests that it is less closely related to the other Ramphocelus tanagers than they are to each other (Hackett 1996). Its closest relative is masked crimson tanager.

The other species form two superspecies. One includes crimson-backed, Huallaga, silver-beaked and Brazilian tanagers, and the other comprises Passerini's, Cherrie's and flame-rumped tanagers.

The subspecies icteronotus of the flame-rumped tanager is sometimes considered a separate species, and the lemon-rumped tanager, R. icteronotus, and Passerini's and Cherrie's tanager were formerly lumped as scarlet-rumped tanager, R. passerinii (a treatment some authorities still prefer).

Species in taxonomic order[edit]

The genus contains nine species:[3]

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
Ramphocelus sanguinolentus.jpg Ramphocelus sanguinolentus Crimson-collared tanager southern Veracruz and northern Oaxaca in Mexico through the Atlantic slope of Central America,western Panama
Masked Crimson Tanager - Manu NP - Perù 8953 (22856151717).jpg Ramphocelus nigrogularis Masked crimson tanager Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru
Crimson-backed Tanager - Panama H8O8413 (22954596730).jpg Ramphocelus dimidiatus Crimson-backed tanager Colombia, Panama, and Venezuela, and introduced to French Polynesia
Ramphocelus melanogaster Huallaga tanager Peru
Ramphocelus carbo -Piraju, Sao Paulo, Brazil -male-8.jpg Ramphocelus carbo Silver-beaked tanager South America from eastern Colombia and Venezuela south to Paraguay and central Brazil, Perú and on Trinidad
Ramphocelus bresilius03.jpg Ramphocelus bresilius Brazilian tanager eastern Brazil and far northeastern Argentina
Passerini's Tanager - Sarapiqui - Costa Rica S4E0838 (26712310255).jpg Ramphocelus passerinii Scarlet-rumped tanager Caribbean lowlands from southern Mexico to western Panama
Flame-rumped Tanager - Colombia S4E8786 (22621894474).jpg Ramphocelus flammigerus Flame-rumped tanager Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena in Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru
Lemon-rumped Tanager - Panama H8O0413 (22623317413).jpg Ramphocelus icteronotus Lemon-rumped tanager Panama to Ecuador


  1. ^ Desmarest, Anselme Gaëtan (1805). Histoire naturelle des Tangaras, des Manakins et des Todiers (in French). Paris: Imprimarie de H. Perronneau. Plate 28 text.
  2. ^ Jobling, J.A. (2018). del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J.; Christie, D.A.; de Juana, E. (eds.). "Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  3. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2018). "Tanagers and allies". World Bird List Version 8.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 2 April 2018.


  • ffrench, Richard (1991). A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago (2nd ed.). Comstock Publishing. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2.
  • Hilty, Birds of Venezuela, ISBN 0-7136-6418-5
  • Morton, Isler & Isler, Tanagers ISBN 0-7136-5116-4
  • Stiles and Skutch, A guide to the birds of Costa Rica ISBN 0-8014-9600-4
  • Steve N. G. Howell and Sophie Webb (1995). A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-854012-4.
  • S. J. Hackett (1996). "Molecular phylogenetics and biogeography of tanagers in the genus Ramphocelus (Aves)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 5 (2): 368–382. doi:10.1006/mpev.1996.0032. PMID 8728395.