Red-headed tanager

Red-headed tanager

Red-headed tanager

Piranga erythrocephala

The red-headed tanager (Piranga erythrocephala ) is a medium-sized American songbird in the family Cardinalidae, the cardinals or cardinal grosbeaks. It is endemic to Mexico. The red-headed tanager is around 15 cm (5.9 in) long, the male has predominantly yellow-olive plumage with a red head and throat, while the female has a yellowish forecrown.

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Two subspecies are recognised.

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The red-headed tanager is approximately 15 cm (5.9 in) long and weighs 19.9 to 24.5 g (0.70 to 0.86 oz). The nominate male's forecrown, face, throat, and upper chest are red and the rest of the upperparts bright yellow-olive. The rest of the underparts are olive-yellow. It has a narrow black "mask". The female's forecrown is yellowish and the rest of the upperparts yellow-olive. The throat and chest are yellow that fades to buffy white towards the vent area. The juvenile male looks like a bright female. P. e. candida is similar to the nominate but duller and darker.



Biogeographical realms

The red-headed tanager is endemic to Mexico. The nominate is found discontinuously from Jalisco state south to eastern Oaxaca. P. e. candida is found further north, from southern Sonora and Chihuahua south to Jalisco, and has been recorded further south outside of breeding season. It uses a variety of wooded habitats including semi-humid and moist montane forest, pine-oak forest, evergreen forest, and open woodland with scrub. It can also be found along the edges of forest and in plantations. In elevation it ranges from 900 to 2,600 m (3,000 to 8,500 ft).

Red-headed tanager habitat map
Red-headed tanager habitat map
Red-headed tanager
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Habits and Lifestyle

Seasonal behavior
Bird's call

Diet and Nutrition

The red-headed tanager forages in pairs or small groups for insects and small fruit like berries. It favors the mid level of the trees or higher and tends to stay in the foliage though it will sometimes forage at the ends of branches.

Mating Habits

The red-headed tanager's nest is a cup of fine twigs placed at middle to upper height in a tree. No other information about its breeding phenology has been published.


Population number

The IUCN has assessed the red-headed tanager as being of Least Concern. It is found in several protected areas and much of its range outside them also has intact habitat. " seems certain that the near-term risk to this species is low."


1. Red-headed tanager Wikipedia article -
2. Red-headed tanager on The IUCN Red List site -
3. Xeno-canto bird call -

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