Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra)

If there is one bird that represents migration in Costa Rica, is the Summer Tanager. The bright red coloration of the male is marvelous, and the orange of the female is equally striking. I have seen males in Santa Ana while riding my bike, perched on the electricity wires. I have seen the females on a number of places, including El Copal (Tucurrique), Estación Biológica La Selva (Sarapiquí), my parent’s home (Río Frío), and most recently at Laguna del Lagarto Lodge (Boca Tapada), during a birdwatching tour with Fundación Rapaces de Costa Rica, on November 25th and 26th, 2017. The pictures below were taken at the lodge, where the Summer Tanager shared the feeders with Honeycreepers, Orioles and other Tanagers.

It also became apparent to me that the Summer and Scarlet Tanagers are very much alike. Female Summer Tanager’s resemble a lot the Female and non-breeding male Scarlet, however the Scarlet has black wings, which render them unmistakable if seen side by side. Body size and shape are almost identical, so depending on the posture it was difficult to identify them accurately.

Summer Tanager, Male - Piranga rubra - Tangara Veranera, Tangara Roja, Sangre Toro, Macho

The male at a branch that was less covered in vegetation. A little bit of back light is seen in its underside plumage

Summer Tanager, Male - Piranga rubra - Tangara Veranera, Tangara Roja, Sangre Toro, Macho (3)

A closer look at the male. Note the pale bill, black eye and somewhat darker wing feathers

Summer Tanager, Male - Piranga rubra - Tangara Veranera, Tangara Roja, Sangre Toro, Macho (2)

The male in splendorous breeding plumage. There is no way to lose them from sight within so much green coloration

Summer Tanager, Female - Piranga rubra - Tangara Veranera, Tangara Roja, Sangre Toro, Hembra (3)

The female perched in a small branch. They look plumper than similarly named birds, hence they are in a different family now

Summer Tanager, Female - Piranga rubra - Tangara Veranera, Tangara Roja, Sangre Toro, Hembra (2)

A female Summer Tanager shares space with a female Shining Honeycreeper on this branch

Summer Tanager, Female - Piranga rubra - Tangara Veranera, Tangara Roja, Sangre Toro, Hembra (1)

A lone female perched on this big branch. Females are uniformly colored in orange and very similar to the Scarlet Tanager, which has black wings

2 thoughts on “Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra)

  1. Pingback: Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) | The Nature Admirer

  2. Pingback: El Imperio del Rey, Boca Tapada | The Nature Admirer

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