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Summer Tanager - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Reini
Costa Rica, February 2005
Piranga rubra


Photo © by Al_in_Virginia
Quinton, Va, USA, 3 October 2011

7-8" (18-20 cm)
Male solid rose-red with pale bill. Female pale olive green above, dull yellow below.
Immatures like female, but beware of young males gradually changing their colors and looking quite patchy (old females may look similar!).


Photo © by max1
Corcovado, SW Costa Rica, March 2019

Breeds southern United States and northern Mexico, winters through Central America and northern half of South America.


Photo © by Donny Taylor
Johnston County, North Carolina, USA
10 June 2009

It was placed in the Thraupidae, but is more likely a relative of the cardinals.


Consists of two subspecies1:

  • P. r. cooperi
    • Southwest US and northern Mexico. Winters to southern Baja and southern Mexico.
  • P. r. rubra


Open woodland along streams.



Their diet consists mostly of bees and wasps (and their larva) which they catch in flight. After killing the adults they remove the sting by rubbing them on a branch. When all the adults are dead, they then turn their attention to the nest and destroy it to get at the grubs.


They build an open cup nest of dried grasses and other vegetation. The 3-4 pale blue to pale green eggs are marked with dark spots and blotches.


Click on photo for larger image


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. All About Birds

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