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Tanager (Family: Thraupidae) - Wiki
Subject: Tanager (Family: Thraupidae) - Wiki
Brazilian Tanager (Ramphocelus bresilius) 02.jpg
Resolution: 300x249 File Size: 70441 Bytes Date: 2005:08:02 13:08:43 Camera: HP PhotoSmart R707 (V01.00)d (Hewlett-Packard) F number: f/5.1 Exposure: 800/100000 sec Focal Length: 2400/100 Upload Date: 2008:01:30 21:10:46

Tanager (Family: Thraupidae) - Wiki

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Thraupidae

[Photo] Brazilian Tanager (Ramphocelus bresilius). Photo by JoJan. Date: 2 August 2005. Source:

There were traditionally about 240 species of tanagers in the bird family Thraupidae. They belong to the order Passeriformes.

The taxonomic treatment of this family's members is currently in a state of flux. As more of these birds are studied using modern molecular techniques it is expected that some genera may be relocated elsewhere. Already the Euphonias and chlorophonias, which were once considered part of the tanager family, are now treated as members of Fringillidae, in their own subfamily (Euphoniinae). Likewise the genera Piranga, Chlorothraupis, and Habia appear to be related to members of the Cardinal family, and may soon be reassigned by the AOU.

Size and appearance
Tanagers are small to medium-sized birds. The shortest-bodied species, the White-eared Conebill, is 9 cm (3.8 in) long and weighs 7 grams, barely smaller than the Short-billed Honeycreeper. The longest, the Magpie Tanager is 28 cm (11 in) and weighs 76 grams (2.7 oz). The heaviest is the White-capped Tanager which weighs 114 grams (4 oz) and measures about 23 cm (8.7 in). Both sexes are usually the same size and weight. Tanagers are often brightly colored, but some species are black and white. Birds in their first year are often duller or a different color altogether. Males are typically more brightly coloured than females.

Most tanagers have short, rounded wings. The shape of the bill seems to be linked to the species' foraging habits.

Tanagers are restricted to the New World and mainly to the tropics. About 60% of tanagers live in South America, and 30% of these species live in the Andes. Most species are endemic to a relatively small area. 18 species live in North America and Central America year round. 4 species are migratory, breeding in North America. They are the Scarlet Tanager, Western Tanager, Hepatic Tanager and the Summer Tanager. Recent molecular evidence indicates these 4 migratory species may be more closely related to the family Cardinalidae.

Most tanagers live in pairs or in small groups of 3-5 individuals. These groups may consist simply of parents and their offspring. Birds may also be seen in single species or mixed flocks. Many tanagers are thought to have dull songs, though some are elaborate.

Tanagers are omnivorous, and their diet varies from genus to genus. They have been seen eating fruits, seeds, nectar, flower parts and insects. Many pick insects off branches. Other species look for insects on the underside of leaves. Yet others wait on branches until they see a flying insect and catch it in the air. Many of these particular species inhabit the same areas, but these specializations alleviate competition.

The breeding season begin in March through until June in temperate areas and in September through October in South America. Some species are territorial while others build their nests closer together. There is little information on tanager breeding behavior or whether they are monogamous or polygamous. Males show off their brightest feathers to potential mates and rival males. Some species' courtship rituals involve bowing and tail lifting.

Most tanagers build cup nests on branches in trees. Some nests are almost globular. Entrances are usually built on the side of the nest. The nests can be shallow or deep. The species of the tree they choose to build their nest in and the nest's position varies among genera. Most species nest in an area hidden by very dense vegetation. There is still no information on the nests of some species.

The clutch size is 3???5 eggs. The female incubates the eggs and builds the nest, but the male may feed the female while she incubates. Both sexes feed the young. Five species have helpers assist in feeding the young. These helpers are thought to be the previous year's nestlings.

Phylogenetic studies suggest the true tanagers form two main groups each consisting of several smaller clades. The list below is an attempt to organise them into coherent related groups.

Group 1
Mainly dull-coloured forms.

a) Conebill and flowerpiercer group (Also contains Haplospiza, Catamenia, Acanthidops, Diglossa and Diglossopis. Traditionally in Emberizidae). This group despite having a rather varied bill morphology shows marked plumage similarities. Most are largely grey, blue, or black, and numerous have rufous on the underparts:

Genus Conirostrum ??? typical conebills (10 species)
Genus Oreomanes ??? Giant Conebill
Genus Xenodacnis ??? Tit-like Dacnis
Genus Catamenia (3 species)
Genus Diglossa ??? typical flowerpiercers (14 species)
Genus Diglossopis ??? blue flowerpiercers (4 species)
Genus Haplospiza (2 species)
Genus Acanthidops ??? Peg-billed Finch
b) "Yellow-rumped" clade:

Genus Heterospingus (2 species)
Genus Chrysothlypis (2 species)
Genus Hemithraupis (3 species)
c) "Crested" clade (Also contains Coryphospingus. Traditionally classified in Emberizidae):

Genus Lanio ??? shrike-tanagers (4 species)
Genus Eucometis ??? Gray-headed Tanager
Genus Tachyphonus (8 species)
Genus Trichothraupis ??? Black-goggled Tanager
Genus Stephanophorus ??? Diademed Tanager
Genus Coryphospingus (2 species)
d) A mostly Andean group of tanager-finches, Phrygilus, Embernagra and relatives basally, and then a diverse but close-knit group containing both warbler and finch-like forms ??? Poospiza through to Nephelornis:

Genus Phrygilus (11 species)
Genus Melanodera (2 species)
Genus Donacospiza ??? Long-tailed Reed-finch
Genus Rowettia ??? Gough Island Finch
Genus Nesospiza (2 species)
Genus Diuca (2 species)
Genus Emberizoides (3 species)
Genus Embernagra (2 species)
Genus Gubernatrix ??? Yellow Cardinal
Genus Idiopsar ??? Short-tailed Finch
Genus Piezorhina ??? Cinereous Finch
Genus Xenospingus ??? Slender-billed Finch
Genus Incaspiza ??? inca-finches (5 species)
Genus Poospiza ??? mountain- and warbling-finches (17 species)
Genus Cnemoscopus ??? Gray-hooded Bush Tanager
Genus Hemispingus ??? hemispinguses (12 species)
Genus Thlypopsis (6 species)
Genus Pyrrhocoma ??? Chestnut-headed Tanager
Genus Cypsnagra ??? White-rumped Tanager
Genus Nephelornis ??? Pardusco
Genus Coryphaspiza ??? Black-masked Finch
Genus Saltatricula ??? Many-colored Chaco-finch
Genus Rhodospingus ??? Crimson-breasted Finch
e) Basal forms in group 1:

Genus Ramphocelus ??? silver-billed tanagers (9 species)
Genus Conothraupis (2 species)
Genus Orchesticus ??? Brown Tanager
Genus Creurgops (2 species)

Group 2
Seedeater and typical tanager group.

a) Darwin's finches, grassquits, atypical honeycreepers and some seedeaters:

Genus Geospiza ??? ground finches (6 species)
Genus Camarhynchus ??? tree finches (6 species)
Genus Certhidea ??? Warbler Finch
Genus Pinaroloxias ??? Cocos Island Finch
Genus Melopyrrha ??? Cuban Bullfinch
Genus Tiaris ??? grassquits (5 species)
Genus Loxipasser ??? Yellow-shouldered Grassquit
Genus Euneornis ??? Orangequit
Genus Melanospiza ??? St. Lucia Black Finch
Genus Loxigilla ??? Antillean bullfinches (3 species)
b) True seedeaters, yellow-finches and relatives. Traditionally placed in Emberizidae. The first 5 genera share a unique foot-scute pattern which suggests that they may form a monophyletic group:

Genus Sporophila ??? typical seedeaters (some 55 species)
Genus Oryzoborus (6 species)
Genus Dolospingus ??? White-naped Seedeater
Genus Charitospiza ??? Coal-crested Finch
Genus Volatinia ??? Blue-black Grassquit
Genus Lophospingus (2 species)
Genus Sicalis ??? yellow-finches (12 species)
c) Typical multicoloured tanagers (includes Paroaria traditionally placed in Emberizidae):

Genus Chlorochrysa (3 species)
Genus Neothraupis ??? White-banded Tanager
Genus Cissopis ??? Magpie Tanager
Genus Paroaria (5???6 species)
Genus Schistochlamys (2 species)
d) Typical tanagers:

Genus Thraupis (9 species)
Genus Iridosornis (5 species)
Genus Pipraeidea ??? Fawn-breasted Tanager
e) Mountain tanagers:

Genus Cyanicterus ??? Blue-backed Tanager
Genus Bangsia ??? (5 species)
Genus Buthraupis ??? (4 species)
Genus Chlorornis ??? Grass-green Tanager
Genus Wetmorethraupis ??? Orange-throated Tanager
Genus Anisognathus ??? (5 species)
Genus Dubusia ??? Buff-breasted Mountain-tanager
Genus Delothraupis ??? Chestnut-bellied Mountain-tanager
f) Tropical canopy tanagers:

Genus Tangara (about 50 species)
g) Basal lineages within group 2:

Genus Nemosia ??? (2 species)
Genus Compsothraupis ??? Scarlet-throated Tanager
Genus Sericossypha ??? White-capped Tanager
Genus Tersina ??? Swallow Tanager

Green Honeycreeper, Chlorophanes spizaGenus Chlorophanes ??? Green Honeycreeper
Genus Iridophanes ??? Golden-collared Honeycreeper
Genus Cyanerpes, the typical honeycreepers (4 species)
Genus Pseudodacnis ??? Turquoise Dacnis-tanager
Genus Dacnis, the dacnises (8 species)

Thraupidae incertae sedis
Genus Mitrospingus (2 species)
Genus Orthogonys ??? Olive-green Tanager
Genus Calochaetes ??? Vermilion Tanager
Genus Catamblyrhynchus ??? Plushcap or Plush-capped Finch
Genus Oreothraupis ??? Tanager-finch
Genus Urothraupis ??? Black-backed Bush-tanager
Genus Rhodinocichla ??? Rosy Thrush-tanager
Genus Lamprospiza ??? Red-billed Pied Tanager
Genus Phaenicophilus ??? palm-tanagers (2 species)
Genus Calyptophilus ??? chat-tanagers (2 species)
Genus Nesospingus ??? Puerto Rican Tanager
Genus Amaurospiza (4 species; tentatively placed here but may belong in Cyanocompsa in Cardinalidae)
Genus Saltator (16 species; traditionally placed in Cardinalidae, but biochemical evidence suggests they may be tanagers)
Genus Parkerthraustes ??? Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak (traditionally in Cardinalidae, but biochemical evidence suggests it is a tanager)

Recently split from Thraupidae
Related to Arremonops in Emberizidae:

Genus Chlorospingus ??? bush-tanagers (around 10 species)
Related to Cardinalis in Cardinalidae:

Genus Piranga ??? northern tanagers (9 species)
Genus Habia ??? ant-tanagers or habias (5 species)
Genus Chlorothraupis (3 species)
Genera incertae sedis

Genus Spindalis ??? spindalises (4 species). Exact affinities uncertain but lie outside the tanagers.
Genus Coereba ??? Bananaquit. Exact affinities uncertain but may be sister species to Tiaris olivacea.
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Gray seedeater
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