SCARLET TANAGER

SCARLET TANAGER (Piranga olivacea) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Scarlet Tanager adult breeding male is mostly scarlet red with black wings and a black forked tail. Male winter plumage is similar to the female’s. Females are olive green on top with dark grey wings and tail. Under parts yellow-green. Eyes are black, bill is conical, slightly downcurved and grey. Legs are grey. Bird length is about 18 cm (7 inches).
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Piranga-olivacea
NAME: ‘Tanager’ stems from ‘Tangara’, from Brazilian Tupi and refers to an unknown bird. Latin genus name ‘Piranga’ is also from Brazilian Tupi. Latin species name ‘olivacea’ means ‘olive green’, in reference to the female plumage.
HABITAT: Deciduous and mixed forests. During migration, also found in shrub land, fields and forest edges.
DIET: Insects caught on the fly or foraged on forest floor, fruit, worms, spiders, tree buds. These birds will rub stinging insects against a branch to remove the sting before eating them.
NESTING: Nest built on horizontal tree branch. Usually four light blue eggs are laid, incubated by the female. Chicks fed by both parents. When not located deep in the forest, nest is vulnerable to parasitism by Brown-headed Cowbird and predators.
DISTRIBUTION: Breeds in south east Canada and east northern half of USA. Migrates in southeast USA and Mexico along western Gulf of Mexico. Winters in south Central America and northwest South America.
Distribution Map: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarlet_tanager#/media/File:Piranga_olivacea_map.svg
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island, sightings occasional in spring and summer.
CONSERVATION: Population widespread, not currently considered at risk. However the species is vulnerable to habitat fragmentation (see ‘Nesting’ section above).
NOTES: This tanager belongs to the Cardinal family.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Summer Tanager, Western Tanager
REFERENCES: https://www.borealbirds.org/bird/scarlet-tanager
https://www.mba-aom.ca/jsp/toc.jsp (Maritimes Breeding Bird Atlas)
https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/scarlet-tanager (Missouri Department of Conservation)
http://fieldguide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=ABPBX45040 (Montana Field Guide)
https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Piranga_olivacea/ (University of Michigan)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarlet_tanager
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Scarlet_Tanager
https://birdatlas.mb.ca/accounts/speciesaccount.jsp?sp=SCTA&lang=en (Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas)
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/scarlet-tanager
https://abcbirds.org/bird/scarlet-tanager/ (American Bird Conservancy)
https://www.nps.gov/shen/learn/nature/scarlet-tanager.htm (Shenandoah National Park, VA)
https://identify.whatbird.com/obj/579/_/Scarlet_Tanager.aspx

Scarlet Tanager male - May 2013 - photo by Bmajoros
Scarlet Tanager male – May 2013 – photo by Bmajoros
Scarlet Tanager, female - Green Valley FP, Naperville, IL - June 2012 - photo by CheepShot
Scarlet Tanager, female – Green Valley FP, Naperville, IL – June 2012 – photo by CheepShot
Scarlet Tanager, moulting male - Oct. 2009 - photo by Steve Maslowski, USFWS
Scarlet Tanager, moulting male – Oct. 2009 – photo by Steve Maslowski, USFWS

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