Tangara (genus)

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Paradise tanager.jpg
Paradise tanager, Tangara chilensis
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Thraupidae
Genus: Tangara
Brisson, 1760

About 50, see list


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.

Taxonomy and systematics[edit]

The genus Tangara was introduced by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760.[2] The name means "dancer" in the extinct Tupi language.[3]

Extant species[edit]

Forty-nine extant species are recognized:[4]

Image Common Name Scientific name Distribution
Tangara inornata by Brian Gratwicke (cropped).jpg Plain-colored tanager Tangara inornata Colombia, Costa Rica, and Panama
Cabanis's tanager Tangara cabanisi western Guatemala and southern Chiapas, Mexico
Grey-and-gold tanager Tangara palmeri Colombia, Ecuador, and Panama
Saíra-de-bando.jpg Turquoise tanager Tangara mexicana Trinidad, Colombia and Venezuela south to Bolivia and much of Brazil
Paradise Tanager Woodland Parks Zoo RWD.jpg Paradise tanager Tangara chilensis western and northern Amazon Basin in South America, it occurs in Venezuela, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil and the Guianas
Pintor Vedadeiro.jpg Seven-colored tanager Tangara fastuosa north-eastern Brazil
Green-headed Tanager Ubatuba.jpg Green-headed tanager Tangara seledon south-eastern Brazil, far eastern Paraguay, and far north-eastern Argentina
Tangara cyanocephala Itamanbuca Eco Resort.jpg Red-necked tanager Tangara cyanocephala Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay
Brassy-breasted Tanager - Regua - Brazil S4E1979 (12797187424).jpg Brassy-breasted tanager Tangara desmaresti Brazil
Tangara cyanoventris.jpg Gilt-edged tanager Tangara cyanoventris Brazil
Blue-whiskered tanager Tangara johannae Colombia and Ecuador.
Tangara schrankii, Green-and-gold Tanager.jpg Green-and-gold tanager Tangara schrankii eastern Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, central Bolivia, and northwestern Brazil
Emerald Tanager - San Luis - Costa Rica MG 1694 (26584929732).jpg Emerald tanager Tangara florida Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Panama
Tangara arthus - Tángara dorada - Golden Tanager (8542820434).jpg Golden tanager Tangara arthus Andes (from Bolivia and northwards) and Venezuelan Coastal Range in north-western South America
Silver-throated Tanager - Panama H8O1974 (22882490849).jpg Silver-throated tanager Tangara icterocephala Costa Rica, through Panama and western Colombia, to western Ecuador.
Tangara xanthocephala by Francesco Veronesi.jpg Saffron-crowned tanager Tangara xanthocephala northern Andes of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.
Golden-eared Tanager - Manu NP - Perù 7900 (22954456080).jpg Golden-eared tanager Tangara chrysotis eastern Andes of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru
Flame-faced Tanager (4851596008).jpg Flame-faced tanager Tangara parzudakii eastern Andes of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela
Yellow-bellied tanager Tangara xanthogastra Bolivia, Brasil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Perú, and Venezuela
Spotted Tanager RWD4.jpg Spotted tanager Tangara punctata Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela
Speckled Tanager - San Luis - Costa Rica S4E1543 (26073869893).jpg Speckled tanager Tangara guttata Costa Rica, Panama, Trinidad, Venezuela, Colombia, Guyana, Suriname and the extreme north of Brazil
Dotted tanager Tangara varia Brazil, French Guiana, Suriname, and Venezuela
Rufous-throated Tanager (Tangara rufigula).jpg Rufous-throated tanager Tangara rufigula Colombia and Ecuador.
Tangara gyrola -Panama-8a.jpg Bay-headed tanager Tangara gyrola Ecuador, Bolivia and southern Brazil, and on Trinidad
Rufous-winged tanager.jpg Rufous-winged tanager Tangara lavinia Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama
Tangara cayana1.jpg Burnished-buff tanager Tangara cayana 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
Lesser Antillean Tanager.jpg Lesser Antillean tanager Tangara cucullata Grenada and Saint Vincent
Tangara peruviana.JPG Black-backed tanager Tangara peruviana south-eastern Brazil
Tangara preciosa, Chestnut-backed Tanager.jpg Chestnut-backed tanager Tangara preciosa southern Brazil, north-eastern Argentina, eastern Paraguay, and Uruguay.
Tangara vitriolina -Manizales, Caldas, Colombia-8 (3).jpg Scrub tanager Tangara vitriolina Colombia and Ecuador
Green-capped tanager Tangara meyerdeschauenseei Puno, Peru, and La Paz, Bolivia
Rufous-cheeked tanager Tangara rufigenis Venezuela
Tangara ruficervix-20090111.jpg Golden-naped tanager Tangara ruficervix Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.
Metallic-green tanager Tangara labradorides Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru
Blue-browed tanager Tangara cyanotis Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.
Tangara cyanicollis (Tángara real) (16212611057).jpg Blue-necked tanager Tangara cyanicollis Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.
Golden-hooded Tanager - Panama H8O9777 (22882477279).jpg Golden-hooded tanager Tangara larvata southern Mexico south to western Ecuador
Masked tanager Tangara nigrocincta Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Venezuela.
Tangara dowii -Costa Rica-8 (1).jpg Spangle-cheeked tanager Tangara dowii Costa Rica and western Panama
Green-naped tanager Tangara fucosa Colombia and Panama
Tangara nigroviridis 2.jpg Beryl-spangled tanager Tangara nigroviridis Colombia through Ecuador and Peru to Bolivia
Tangara vassorii by Francesco Veronesi.jpg Blue-and-black tanager Tangara vassorii Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela
Tangara heinei (Tángara capirotada) - Hembra (14183051769).jpg Black-capped tanager Tangara heinei Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador.
Sira tanager Tangara phillipsi Peru
Silver-backed tanager Tangara viridicollis southern Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia
Straw-backed tanager Tangara argyrofenges Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia
Sanhaçu-de-encontro-azul (Tangara cyanoptera).jpg Black-headed tanager Tangara cyanoptera South America (Andes of northeastern Colombia, Venezuelan Coastal Range and tepuis of southern Venezuela).
Tangara velia Opal-rumped Tanager (cropped).jpg Opal-rumped tanager Tangara velia Amazon and Atlantic Forest of South America
Opal-crowned tanager Tangara callophrys southern Colombia, eastern Ecuador and Peru and a region of northwestern Bolivia; for Brazil

Former species[edit]

Formerly, some authorities also considered the following species (or subspecies) as species within the genus Tangara:

Distribution and habitat[edit]

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.

Behaviour and ecology[edit]


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.

Food and feeding[edit]

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.


  1. ^ Sedano, R. E., & BURNS, K. J. (2010). Are the Northern Andes a species pump for Neotropical birds? Phylogenetics and biogeography of a clade of Neotropical tanagers (Aves: Thraupini). Journal of Biogeography 37: 325–343.
  2. ^ Brisson, Mathurin Jacques (1760). Ornithologie, ou, Méthode contenant la division des oiseaux en ordres, sections, genres, especes & leurs variétés (in French and Latin). Paris: Jean-Baptiste Bauche. Volume 1 p. 36 and Volume 3 p. 3. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2018). "Tanagers and allies". World Bird List Version 8.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 2 April 2018. 
  5. ^ "Turnagra capensis - Avibase". avibase.bsc-eoc.org. Retrieved 2017-02-20. 

Further reading[edit]

  • ffrench, Richard (1991). A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago (2nd ed.). Comstock Publishing. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2. .
  • Hilty, Steven L (2003). Birds of Venezuela. London: Christopher Helm. 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.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Tangara at Wikimedia Commons
  • Data related to Tangara at Wikispecies