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Name

  • Common Name (English): Bay-headed Tanager
  • Scientific Name: Tangara gyrola

Etymology

The generic name Tangara means Tepui in Brazil. It is also an indigenous name used to describe a multicoloured, seed-bearing bird. The specific epithet Gyrola comes from the Latin Gyrus, meaning ring or circle, alluding to the yellow collar on the nape of the neck of this species.

Description

It is 12cm long and weighs 17g. The plumage is mainly grass green with a brick red cap. Juveniles are usually paler and the cap may be brown. There is no sexual dimorphism in this species.

Distribution and habitat

The bay-headed tanager is present from Costa Rica to northern Bolivia. In Venezuela, it is found in the Sierra de Perijá, the Andes from Táchira to Lara, Barinas, Portuguesa, Falcón, Yaracuy, Carabobo, Guarico, Distrito Federal, Miranda, Anzoátegui, Monagas, Amazonas and Bolívar. It is resident in submontane forest, seasonal forest, secondary forest, forest edge and coffee plantations, at elevations of up to 1800m.

Biology and Conservation

Specimens are observed alone, in pairs and family groups. The birds form mixed flocks with other species of tanagers, honeycreepers, warblers and greenfinches. They make altitudinal migrations in search of for Miconia, Ficus and Cecropia trees that are in fruit. These trees provide up to 60-70% of the bay-headed tanager’s diet. Occasionally it also feeds on insects, which it forages on branches. The cup-shaped nest is built mainly of moss, located between 2 and 4m above the ground, and built solely by the females. Clutches comprise 2 white eggs with brown spots, which are incubated for 13-14 days. The chicks remain in the nest for 15-16 days and are cared for by both sexes. Globally, the species is not under threat.

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