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Hepatic Tanager

Piranga flava

Length: 8 inches Wingspan: 12.5 inches Seasonality: Non-resident in South Dakota
ID Keys: Males red overall, brighter on cap and throat, thick gray bill.  Females orange throat and forehead, mostly grayish otherwise

Hepatic Tanager - Piranga flavaThe Hepatic Tanager is a large tanager of the tropics, with a summer range that crosses into the U.S. in the southwestern states.  They are somewhat similar in appearance to the Summer Tanager, but the males are generally duller in color, with a "liver-red" coloring (hence the name "Hepatic" Tanager). Females are much plainer in appearance, with a orangish throat, forehead, and tail contrasting with a grayish overall plumage on the body.

Habitat: Found in open pine and oak forests in the United States.

Diet: Feeds mostly on insects, but will also feed heavily on fruits and berries when available.

Behavior: Forages by deliberately moving through the forest canopy, pausing occasionally as it searches for insects.  Insects are gleaned from foliage and branches, and occasionally may be caught in flight.  Most of the foraging is done in the tree canopy, but they will also sometimes forage lower in the underbrush of a forest.

Nesting: The nest is a cup built of grasses and weed stems, placed in a tree, often quite high up in the branches.  The female lays between 3 and 5 eggs.  Both parents help feed the young after the eggs hatch.

Song: Slow melodic series of phrases, with clear pauses between phrases.

Migration: Considered a permanent resident throughout most of their range in Mexico.  Birds at the northern edge of their range, including those summering in the United States, move southward for the winter, although a few may linger in the U.S.

Interactive eBird Map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Hepatic Tanager sightings

Similar Species: Summer Tanager, Scarlet Tanager

Conservation Status: The Hepatic Tanager has a wide geographic range, and populations are stable or may be increasing.  The IUCN lists the Hepatic Tanager as a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information: 1) - Hepatic Tanager

2) Audubon Guide - Hepatic Tanager

3) WhatBird - Hepatic Tanager

Photo Information: Photo taken by Francesco Veronesi - Photo licensed under Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License


Click below for a higher-resolution map
Hepatic Tanager - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Non-resident in South Dakota

Additional Hepatic Tanager Photos
 Hepatic Tanager - Piranga flavaHepatic Tanager - Piranga flava