Turquoise tanager

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Tangara mexicana)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Turquoise tanager
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Thraupidae
Genus: Tangara
T. mexicana
Binomial name
Tangara mexicana
(Linnaeus, 1766)

Tanagra mexicana Linnaeus, 1766

The turquoise tanager (Tangara mexicana) is a medium-sized passerine bird in the tanager family Thraupidae. It is a resident bird from Trinidad, Colombia and Venezuela south to Bolivia and much of Brazil (despite its scientific name, it is not found in Mexico). It is restricted to areas with humid forest, with its primary distribution being the Amazon, while a disjunct population occurs in the Atlantic Forest of eastern Brazil. The latter population is sometimes considered a separate species, the white-bellied tanager (Tangara brasiliensis) .

It occurs in forest, woodland and cultivation. The bulky cup nest is built in a tree or shrub, and the female incubates three brown-blotched grey-green eggs.

These are social birds usually found in groups. They eat a wide variety of fruit and also take insects, often gleaned from twigs.


The turquoise tanager was formally described in 1766 by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in the 12th edition of his Systema Naturae under the binomial name Tanagra mexicana.[2] His description was principally based on Mathurin Jacques Brisson's Le tangara blue de Cayenne that he had described and illustrated in 1760.[3] The type locality is Cayenne in French Guiana.[4] The turquoise tanager is now placed in the genus Tangara that was introduced by Brisson.[5][6]

Five subspecies are recognised:[6]

  • T. m. vieilloti (Sclater, PL, 1857) – Trinidad
  • T. m. media (Berlepsch & Hartert, 1902) – east Colombia and Venezuela
  • T. m. mexicana (Linnaeus, 1766) – the Guianas to central Brazil
  • T. m. boliviana (Bonaparte, 1851) – southeast Colombia to east Ecuador, east Peru, west Brazil and north Bolivia
  • T. m. brasiliensis (Linnaeus, 1766) – southeast Brazil


Adult turquoise tanagers are 14 cm long and weigh 20 g. They are long-tailed and with a dark stout pointed bill. The adult is mainly dark blue and black, with turquoise edging to the primaries. Most races have yellow lower underparts, but this is paler, more cream in the nominate subspecies found in north-eastern South America. The Trinidadian race, T. m. vieiloti, has a darker blue head and breast and more vividly yellow underparts than the mainland taxa, but this difference is only obvious compared to the nominate and brasiliensis. The taxon brasiliensis differs conspicuously from all other races, it being larger, having an overall duller blue plumage, blue edging to the primaries and a white belly. Their song is a fast squeaky chatter tic-tic-tic-tic-tic.



  1. ^ BirdLife International (2017). "Tangara mexicana (amended version of 2016 assessment)". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2017: e.T103849376A119556880. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  2. ^ Linnaeus, Carl (1766). Systema naturae : per regna tria natura, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis (in Latin). Volume 1, Part 1 (12th ed.). Holmiae (Stockholm): Laurentii Salvii. p. 315. |volume= has extra text (help)
  3. ^ Brisson, Mathurin Jacques (1760). Ornithologie, ou, Méthode Contenant la Division des Oiseaux en Ordres, Sections, Genres, Especes & leurs Variétés (in French and Latin). Volume 3. Paris: Jean-Baptiste Bauche. p. 6, Plate 1 fig. 3. |volume= has extra text (help)
  4. ^ Paynter, Raymond A. Jr, ed. (1970). Check-List of Birds of the World. Volume 13. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 361. |volume= has extra text (help)
  5. ^ Brisson, Mathurin Jacques (1760). Ornithologie, ou, Méthode Contenant la Division des Oiseaux en Ordres, Sections, Genres, Especes & leurs Variétés (in French and Latin). Paris: Jean-Baptiste Bauche. Vol. 1 p. 36 and Vol. 3 p. 3.
  6. ^ a b Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (July 2020). "Tanagers and allies". IOC World Bird List Version 10.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 17 October 2020.

External links[edit]