Blue-and-black tanager

Blue-and-black tanager

Blue-and-black tanager

Kingdom
Phylum
Class
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Tangara vassorii

The blue-and-black tanager (Tangara vassorii ) is a species of bird in the tanager family Thraupidae. It is found in the Andes of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, where it inhabits montane evergreen forest, dwarf forest, and secondary forest at elevations of 1,500–3,500 m (4,900–11,500 ft). It inhabits the highest altitude of any Tangara species, and is the only species from the genus that is found near the tree line. Adults are 13 cm (5.1 in) long and weigh 18 g (0.63 oz) on average, and are mostly blue with black masks, wings, and tails. The species shows slight sexual dimorphism, with females being slightly duller than males.

Show More

The blue-and-black tanager feeds on fruit and arthropods, with the most favored fruit being Miconia. It forages in mixed-species flocks in pairs or groups of 3–6 individuals, especially with Iridosornis or Anisognathus. It breeds from February to August, making cup nests out of moss and rootlets. Begging young have been reported in January, while fledglings have been reported in May. The blue-and-black tanager is listed as being of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on the IUCN Red List due to its large range, relative commonness, and lack of significant population declines, but is threatened by habitat destruction.

Show Less

Appearance

The blue-and-black tanager is an average-sized species for its genus, with an mean length of 13 cm (5.1 in) and mass of 18 g (0.63 oz). It shows slight sexual dimorphism, with females being slightly duller than males. Adult males are mainly cobalt blue with a black mask. The wing and tail feathers are black with blue edges. Subadults are mostly gray, but have black wings, tails, and lores. The bill is very short compared to other species of Tangara. The iris is brown, the bill is black, and the feet are wine gray.

Show More

The blue-and black tanager may be confused with the masked flowerpiercer, but can be distinguished its brown eye, more extensive black on the wing, and shorter and thicker bill. Populations of the subspecies atrocoerulea may also be confused with the golden-naped tanager, but can be distinguished by their blacker back and lack of cinnamon underparts.

Show Less

Distribution

Geography

Continents
Biogeographical realms

The blue-and-black tanager is found in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela in the northern and central Andes, at elevations of 1,500–3,500 m (4,900–11,500 ft). It inhabits the highest altitude of any Tangara species, and is the only species from the genus that is found near the tree line. It mostly inhabits montane evergreen forest, dwarf forest, and secondary forest. It also inhabits forest edges, vegetation in clearings, and patches of growth near the tree line. It generally stays in the canopy.

Blue-and-black tanager habitat map

Biome

Blue-and-black tanager habitat map
Blue-and-black tanager
Attribution-ShareAlike License

Habits and Lifestyle

The blue-and-black tanager joins large mixed-species flocks while foraging, most often in pairs or groups of 3–6 individuals. Mixed-species flocks can contain up 15 blue-and-black tanagers, and they have been reported as being the nuclear species (species that helps form and maintain a mixed-species flock) in Colombia. It is found more often with Iridosornis or Anisognathus species than other Tangara.

Lifestyle
Seasonal behavior
Bird's call

Diet and Nutrition

The blue-and-black tanager feeds on fruit and arthropods, especially fruit from plants in the genus Miconia. It is an active forager that moves through foliage constantly. It forages in all strata, but favors the canopy. Foraging for arthropods occurs by hopping on moss-covered branches and inspecting areas such as the undersides of branches, leaves, moss, and small bromeliads. The species feeds on fruit by reaching out and grabbing them quickly, after which they feed on them while sitting upright.

Mating Habits

The blue-and-black tanager breeds from February to August. It makes cup nests out of moss and rootlets, lined on the outside with Chusquea bamboo leaves and on the inside with fibers and animal hair. Nests have been recorded in May and June, and are 8 cm (3.1 in) wide and 7 cm (2.8 in) tall on the outside and 6 cm (2.4 in) wide and 3 cm (1.2 in) deep on the inside. Nests have been recorded at heights of 3.8–5 m (12–16 ft) above the ground on small trees. Eggs are laid in clutches of two, and are pale blue with cinnamon splotching. They measure 20 mm–20.3 mm × 14.1 mm–15 mm (0.79 in–0.80 in × 0.56 in–0.59 in) and weigh 2.1–2.2 g (0.074–0.078 oz). Begging young have been reported in January, while fledglings have been reported in May.

Population

Population number

The blue-and-black tanager is listed as being of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on the IUCN Red List due to its large range, relative commonness, and lack of significant population declines. The subspecies atrocoerulea, which is considered a distinct species by the IUCN, is also listed as least concern for the above reasons. However, the species is threatened by habitat destruction that is reducing its population.

References

1. Blue-and-black tanager Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue-and-black_tanager
2. Blue-and-black tanager on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/103849068/119558363
3. Xeno-canto bird call - https://xeno-canto.org/518257

More Fascinating Animals to Learn About