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Birds of Cuba, Vagrant Visitors, Introduced Birds and Possibilities

Scarlet Tanager

Piranga écarlate

Piranga olivacea

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Birds of North America
B L W W W Family Latin Name
7" 17.8cm 11.5" 29.2cm 1oz 28.4g Cardinalidae Piranga olivacea

Species: The Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea), more so the male, is one of the most beautiful birds seen in North America. This male tanager is recognized by its bright red head and body, found throughout deciduous forests in the eastern regions of the continent. Their diet will include bees, other types of insects, sometimes showing up at birdfeeders looking for fatty suet.

Distinctions: Sexually dimorphic, the male has a red head and body with black wings and tail. Sometimes the male may be seen with red epaulettes. The female is green and yellow, as is the juvenile in its first year. In late August, the male will molt, losing its red plumage, changing into a green and yellow plumage, although, its wings and tail will remain black.

Voice: Repeated four note lyrics, usually song from high in the crown of a tree.

Nesting: Three to four greenish coloured eggs, with brown spots. Builds its cup shaped nest, usually in a deciduous tree located in a forest. The Scarlet Tanager prefers large forested areas in order to reproduce.


Distribution: Found throughout forested are, from Nova Scotia, to north of the Great Lakes, as far as western Saskatchewan, down into southern Oklahoma, east to South Carolina, and the Atlantic coast. Being Neotropical, the tanager spends its winter months in South America.

Classic Collection of North American Birds