TANAGERS   -   THRAUPIDAE   -   PART I

Brown Tanager and Paroaria cardinals to Ramphocelus tanagers


Brown Tanager - Orchesticus abeillei
Brown Tanager
Orchesticus abeillei
Hotel do Ypê, Itatiaia National Park, Rio de Janiero state, Brazil.
One of the strangest tanagers in the entire Thraupidae family (yet currently first in taxonomic order). It is endemic to Southeast Brazil, and apart from bill shape, it is strikingly similar to two species of foliage-gleaner, with which it is often found together in the same mixed species flocks. (S10)


Red-crested Cardinal - Paroaria coronata
Red-crested Cardinal
Paroaria coronata
Pousada Piuval, Mato Grosso state, Brazil.
This is certainly the most handsome member of the genus, found from Bolivia to Argentina and Uruguay. Recent genetic analysis (see here for reference) has shown that the cardinals in this genus belong with the tanagers. (S6)


Red-cowled Cardinal - Paroaria dominicana
Red-cowled Cardinal
Paroaria dominicana
Barra Grande, Bahia state, Brazil.
(D3)


Red-capped Cardinal - Paroaria gularis
Red-capped Cardinal
Paroaria gularis gularis
Amazonia Lodge, Madre de Dios department, Peru.
(D2)


Yellow-billed Cardinal - Paroaria capitata
Yellow-billed Cardinal
Paroaria capitata capitata
Rio Pixaim, the Pantanal, Mato Grosso state, Brazil.
This species can sometimes be abundant. It can be found from southwestern Brazil south through northern Argentina. It's similar to Red-capped (above), but note the difference in bill color and leg color. (S8)


Cinnamon Tanager - Schistochlamys ruficapillus
Cinnamon Tanager
Schistochlamys ruficapillus ruficapillus
Serra do Cipó NP, Minas Gerais state, Brazil.
A tanager mainly of drier, scrubby habitats of interior Brazil. (S5f)


Magpie Tanager - Cissopis leverianus
Magpie Tanager
Cissopis leverianus major
Itororó Lodge, Varginha, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
A characteristic bird of the Amazon basin, but it also occurs locally in the Atlantic Forest, as in this photo. The two races are very similar. (S8)


White-banded Tanager - Neothraupis fasciata
White-banded Tanager
Neothraupis fasciata
Serra de Cipó, Minas Gerais state, Brazil.
Male. A cerrado specialist, occurring in Brazil and adjacent parts of Bolivia and Paraguay. (S6)


Black-and-white Tanager - Conothraupis speculigera
Black-and-white Tanager
Conothraupis speculigera
Machalilla National Park, Manabí province, Ecuador.
Male. This species breeds in dry forest of western Ecuador and northwestern Peru, but disappears from there in the dry season, apparently migrating over the Andes and spending the rest of the year along the eastern base of the Andes from southern Ecuador to Peru. It becomes quiet unobtrusive, and is very rarely seen in its non-breeding range. (S8)


Cone-billed Tanager - Conothraupis mesoleuca
Cone-billed Tanager
Conothraupis mesoleuca
Oxbow lake next to the Rio Claro, São José do Rio Claro, Mato Grosso state, Brazil.
Male. A poor photo of one of the rarest birds in South America. It was lost between its description in 1938 and its rediscovery in Emas NP in the Brazilian state of Goiás in 2003. Since then it has been found at a few other locations in Goiás as well as in the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. The place I saw it is a good place to try, since there is a really nice lodge nearby (Pousada Jardim da Amazonia) that can arrange  excursions to see the tanager. It's not always easy to see, and it took me two attempts to get it. My sound recording was a lot better than my photo, and you can listen to it with the link below. There is speculation that this bird is more closely related to White-naped Seedeater Dolospingus fringilloides, due to clear similarities in voice, plumage, and bill color. (S7)



Scarlet-throated Tanager - Compsothraupis loricata
Scarlet-throated Tanager
Compsothraupis loricata
Palmeiras, Bahia state, Brazil.
Males. A big, aberrant tanager endemic to dry forests of northeastern Brazil. They often move around in large flocks of a dozen birds or more. (D3)


White-capped Tanager - Sericossypha albocristata
White-capped Tanager
Sericossypha albocristata
Above Jardín, Antioquia department, Colombia.
A unique Andean tanager that looks and behaves far more like a jay. It occurs in temperate forests from extreme southern Venezuela to northern Peru. (D3)


Hooded Tanager - Nemosia pileata
Hooded Tanager
Nemosia pileata caerulea
Serra da Canastra, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Male. This is a rather widespread and locally common bird in South America. The only other member of its genus, the Cherry-throated Tanager (N. rourei), is one of the rarest and most endangered birds on the continent. (S10)


Hooded Tanager - Nemosia pileata
Hooded Tanager
Nemosia pileata caerulea
Reserva Ecologic de Guapiassu (REGUA), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Male. (S11)


Olive-green Tanager - Orthogonys chloricterus
Olive-green Tanager
Orthogonys chloricterus
Intervales State Park, São Paulo state, Brazil.
A monotypic genus endemic to the Atlantic Rainforest of SE Brazil. Large, noisy flocks move through the forest canopy. (S6)


Black-capped Hemispingus - Hemispingus atropileus
Black-capped Hemispingus
Hemispingus atropileus atropileus
Cerro Toledo, Loja province, Ecuador.
Hemispinguses are warbler-like tanagers of high Andean forests. (S5)


Black-capped Hemispingus - Hemispingus atropileus
Black-capped (White-browed) Hemispingus
Hemispingus atropileus auricularis
Paty trail, Carpish, Huánuco deparment, Peru.
This subspecies, which is endemic to Peru, is sometimes considered to be a distinct species. It looks very similar to the nominate race above, but there appear to be some vocal differences, and genetic work also suggests it should be split. (S8)


Superciliaried Hemispingus - Hemispingus superciliaris
Superciliaried Hemispingus
Hemispingus superciliaris nigrifrons
Yanacocha, Pichincha province, Ecuador.
A common bird of high elevation forest through much of the Andes. (S8)


Black-eared (Piura) Hemispingus - Hemispingus melanotis piurae
Black-eared (Piura) Hemispingus
Hemispingus melanotis piurae
Sozoranga-Utuana highway, Loja province, Ecuador.
This distinctive subspecies of Black-eared Hemispingus is split off by some authorities as Piura Hemispingus H. piurae. It is found in bamboo patches in southern Ecuador and northwestern Peru. (S8)


Black-eared (Western) Hemispingus - Hemispingus melanotis ochraceus
Black-eared (Western) Hemispingus
Hemispingus melanotis ochraceus
Reserva Geobotánica Pululahua, Pichincha province, Ecuador.
This rather drab taxon is endemic to Andean subtropical forest in western Ecuador and western Colombia. Some authors split it, but SACC still has it included with the more widespread Black-eared Hemispingus. (S8)


Rufous-browed Hemispingus - Hemispingus rufosuperciliaris
Rufous-browed Hemispingus
Hemispingus rufosuperciliaris
Bosque Unchog, Huánuco department, Peru.
This distinctive hemispingus is a rare and local Peruvian endemic. Unlike any other member of the genus, it is partly terrestrial, often hopping around on the ground in search of food. (S8)



Black-headed Hemispingus - Hemispingus verticalis
Black-headed Hemispingus
Hemispingus verticalis
Cordillera de Lagunillas, Zamora-Chinchipe province, Ecuador.
This striking hemispingus is found in high Andean elfin forest from southwestern Venezuela to northern Peru. It was more common at this site than anywhere else I have ever been, despite being near the southern limit of its range. (S6)


Rufous-chested Tanager - Thlypopsis ornata
Rufous-chested Tanager
Thlypopsis ornata media
Utuana, Loja province, Ecuador.
Found in the Andes from Colombia to Peru, where it prefers secondary forest and scrub at mid elevations. (S8)


Buff-bellied Tanager - Thlypopsis inornata
Buff-bellied Tanager
Thlypopsis inornata
Utcubamba Valley, Amazonas department, Peru.
This species is restricted to the Marañon drainage of northern Peru and southern Ecuador. (S6)


Rust-and-yellow Tanager - Thlypopsis ruficeps
Rust-and-yellow Tanager
Thlypopsis ruficeps
Aguas Calientes, Cusco department, Peru.
An Andean cloudforest species found from southern Peru to northern Argentina. (S6)


Chestnut-headed Tanager - Pyrrhocoma ruficeps
Chestnut-headed Tanager
Pyrrhocoma ruficeps
Serra da Canastra NP, Minas Gerais state, Brazil.
Endemic to the Atlantic Forest region, where it seems to have a strong association with bamboo. (S6)


White-rumped Tanager - Cypsnagra hirundinacea
White-rumped Tanager
Cypsnagra hirundinacea hirundinacea
Serra de Cipó, Minas Gerais state, Brazil.
A unique tanager mainly of non-forest habitats of Brazil, also occurring in parts of adjacent Bolivia and Paraguay. Pairs stay close together, they give vert loud, though not very musical, song duets. (S5)


Pardusco - Nephelornis oneilli
Pardusco
Nephelornis oneilli
Bosque Unchog, Huáunuco department, Peru.
One of the dullest of all tanagers, this tiny bird was only described in 1976 from this same location. While not very colorful, it's still a pretty neat bird, since they are usually encountered in large, noisy flocks. (S8)


Black-goggled Tanager - Trichothraupis melanops
Black-goggled Tanager
Trichothraupis melanops
Intervales State Park, São Paulo state, Brazil.
Male. A cloudforest species that occurs both in the southern Andes and the Atlantic Rainforest. (S6)


Black-goggled Tanager - Trichothraupis melanops
Black-goggled Tanager
Trichothraupis melanops
Folha Seca, Ubatuba, São Paulo state, Brazil.
Female, lacking black on the face. (S6)


Dusky-faced Tanager - Mitrospingus cassinii
Dusky-faced Tanager
Mitrospingus cassinii cassinii
Río Palenque, Los Ríos province, Ecuador.
Found in lowland rainforest from Costa Rica to western Ecuador. They move through the understory in big, chattery flocks flock. (S7)


Gray-headed Tanager - Eucometis penicillata
Gray-headed Tanager
Eucometis penicillata cristata
Soberania NP, Panama province, Panama.
A rather widespread species, occurring in both wet and dry forest. (S8)


Flame-crested Tanager - Tachyphonus cristatus
Flame-crested Tanager
Tachyphonus cristatus brunneus
Cananéia, São Paulo state, Brazil.
Male. This tanager is widespread in the Amazonian and Guianan rainforest as well as lowland Atlantic Forest. (S8)


Fulvous-crested Tanager - Tachyphonus surinamus
Fulvous-crested Tanager
Tachyphonus surinamus brevipes
Mitú, Vaupés, Colombia.
Male. (S6)


White-shouldered Tanager - Tachyphonus luctuosus
White-shouldered Tanager
Tachyphonus luctuosus panamensis
Panama Rainforest Discover Center, Colón province, Panama.
Male. This species ranges widely in rainforest in Central and South America. The male's shoulder patch varies in size between the various races. This race has an exceptionally large one. (S8)


White-shouldered Tanager - Tachyphonus luctuosus
White-shouldered Tanager
Tachyphonus luctuosus luctuosus
WildSumaco, Napo province, Ecuador.
Male. The nominate race has a smal shoulder patch; compare with the previous photo. (S7)


White-shouldered Tanager - Tachyphonus luctuosus
White-shouldered Tanager
Tachyphonus luctuosus panamensis
6.5 km east of Guayllabillas, Pichincha province, Ecuador.
Female. (S5f)


Tawny-crested Tanager - Tachyphonus delatrii
Tawny-crested Tanager
Tachyphonus delatrii
El Valle de Antón, Coclé province, Panama.
Male. This species is often encountered in large single-species flocks; it's found in lowland rainforest from Honduras to western Ecuador. (S8)


Tawny-crested Tanager - Tachyphonus delatrii
Tawny-crested Tanager
Tachyphonus delatrii
El Valle de Antón, Coclé province, Panama.
Female. (S8)


Ruby-crowned Tanager - Tachyphonus coronatus
Ruby-crowned Tanager
Tachyphonus coronatus
Intervales State Park, São Paulo state, Brazil.
Male. The ruby crown is concealed most of the time. This species replaces While-lined Tanager T. rufus in southern South America. (S6)


Ruby-crowned Tanager - Tachyphonus coronatus
Ruby-crowned Tanager
Tachyphonus coronatus
Intervales State Park, São Paulo state, Brazil.
Female. (S6)


White-lined Tanager - Tachyphonus rufus
White-lined Tanager
Tachyphonus rufus
Rancho Grande, Henri Pittier NP, Aragua state, Venezuela.
Male. The white wing-linings that give the bird its name are not visible in this photo. It's a feature that is usually only visible in flight. (D3)


White-winged Shrike-Tanager - Lanio versicolor
White-winged Shrike-Tanager
Lanio versicolor parvus
Cristalino Jungle Lodge, Mato Grosso, Brazil.
Male. Coming into an artificial bird bath across the river from the lodge. It was dark and little too distant for my lens, but I may never get another chance to photograph this species. (S8)


Masked Crimson Tanager - Ramphocelus nigrogularis
Masked Crimson Tanager
Ramphocelus nigrogularis
Sani Lodge, Sucumbíos province, Ecuador.
This gaudy tanager is found neear water throughout most of the western Amazon region. (S8)


Masked Crimson Tanager - Ramphocelus nigrogularis
Masked Crimson Tanager
Ramphocelus nigrogularis
Sani Lodge, Sucumbíos province, Ecuador.
(S8)


Crimson-collared Tanager - Ramphocelus sanguinolentus
Crimson-collared Tanager
Ramphocelus sanguinolentus apricus
Arenal Observatory, Alajuela province, Costa Rica.
Obviously a close relative of the previous, and likewise not sexually dimorphic. (D3)


Crimson-backed Tanager - Ramphocelus dimidiatus
Crimson-backed Tanager
Ramphocelus dimidiatus dimidiatus
Ginger House, Cerro Azul, Panama province, Panama.
Male. A common tanager of Panama, northern Colombia, and western Venezuela. (S8)


Crimson-backed Tanager - Ramphocelus dimidiatus
Crimson-backed Tanager
Ramphocelus dimidiatus isthmicus
Canopy Lodge, El Valle de Antón, Coclé province, Panama.
Male, facing off against a Clay-colored Thrush. (S8)


Crimson-backed Tanager - Ramphocelus dimidiatus
Crimson-backed Tanager
Ramphocelus dimidiatus dimidiatus
Ginger House, Cerro Azu, Panama province, Panama.
Female. (S8)


Silver-beaked Tanager - Ramphocelus carbo
Silver-beaked Tanager
Ramphocelus carbo connectens
Amazonia Lodge, Madre de Dios region, Peru.
Male. A common species throughout much of tropical South America east of the Andes. (S8)


Silver-beaked Tanager - Ramphocelus carbo
Silver-beaked Tanager
Ramphocelus carbo carbo
Sani Lodge, Sucumbíos province, Ecuador.
Female. (S8)


Brazilian Tanager - Ramphocelus bresilius
Brazilian Tanager
Ramphocelus bresilius dorsalis
Folha Seca, Ubatuba, São Paulo state, Brazil.
Male. A brilliant bird endemic to lowland areas of eastern Brazil. It does fine in very degraded forest and even coastal scrub, so it has not sufferred from the massive deforestation throughout it's range. (D3)


Brazilian Tanager - Ramphocelus bresilius
Brazilian Tanager
Ramphocelus bresilius dorsalis
Folha Seca, Ubatuba, São Paulo state, Brazil.
Female. (S6)


Passerini's Tanager - Ramphocelus passerinii
Passerini's Tanager
Ramphocelus passerinii
La Selva OTS, Heredia province, Costa Rica.
Male. This is one of a group of similar Neotropical tanagers that differ primarily in female plumage. (S6)


Passerini's Tanager - Ramphocelus passerinii
Passerini's Tanager
Ramphocelus passerinii
Arenal Observatory, Alajuela province, Costa Rica.
Female. (S8)


Flame-rumped (Yellow-rumped) Tanager - Ramphocelus flammigerus icteronotus
Flame-rumped (Yellow-rumped) Tanager
Ramphocelus flammigerus icteronotus
Milpe Bird Sanctuary, Pichincha province, Ecuador.
Male. A common and conspicuous bird in lighter woodland. (S6f)


Flame-rumped (Yellow-rumped) Tanager - Ramphocelus flammigerus icteronotus
Flame-rumped (Yellow-rumped) Tanager
Ramphocelus flammigerus icteronotus
Tandayapa Bird Lodge, Pichincha province, Ecuador.
Female. (S7)



Next page
Previous page
Back to gallery index














Website design and all photos copyright Nick Athanas
For questions, comments, or photograph licensing info, please email