Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea)

Order: Passeriformes Family: Cardinalidae IUCN Status: Least Concern

Age: Adult, basic | Sex: Male, non-breeding | Loc. Eastern Colombia

Age: Adult | Sex: Female | Loc. Quito, Ecuador 

Age: Adult, basic | Sex: Male molting | Loc. North America

Age: Adult | Sex: Male | Loc. North America

Identification & Behavior: ~17 cm (7 in). The adult male Scarlet Tanager in alternate plumage is bright red with black wings and tail. In basic plumage, it is yellowish with black wings and tail. The adult female and the juvenile are similar to a male in basic plumage but the wings and tail are gray-greenish. Males changing from basic to alternate plumage are boldly blotched with red. It forages in the canopy of mature Amazonian forests. The Scarlet Tanager is similar to the White-winged Tanager but is distinguished by not having white wing bars, ranging at lower elevations, and by being a Boreal Migrant only wintering in Peru. Also, see Vermilion Tanager.

Status: The Scarlet Tanager is uncommon to rare but a widespread Boreal migrant in Amazonia. It forages in the canopy and sub-canopy of mature forest and less often in mature second growth. It is known to range up to 1500 m along the foothill of the Andes. The Scarlet Tanager winters in Amazonia during the months of September through March and also occurs in Co, Ec, Br, and Bo.

Name in Spanish: Piranga Escarlata.

Sub-species: Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea), (J. F. Gmelin), 1789.

Meaning of Name: Piranga: Güaraní name Pirangá red (bird), for a small bird, a finch or a tanager. olivacea: L. olivaceus= olive-green.

See: Molting of the Scarlet Tanager

See more of the Family Cardinalidae   peru aves

Distribution Map


    • Species range based on: Schulenberg, T. S., D. F. Stotz, and L. Rico. 2006. Distribution maps of the birds of Peru, version 1.0. Environment, Culture & Conservation (ECCo). The Field Museum. on 03/01/2016.