Summer Tanager

Piranga rubra

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Code 4

SUTA

Code 6

PIRRUB

ITIS

  • wgba_banner
  • ibird_banner
  • journal_banner
1 2 3

ILLUSTRATION

ask community
Copyright © 2004 - 2014 Mitch Waite Group

PHOTOS

PHOTOS 1200

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Summer Tanager is a medium-sized songbird that may be a relative to cardinals. Their preferred breeding habitats include open but wooded areas, including oak forests throughout the United States. During winter months, the Summer Tanager migrates south to Mexico, Central America and northern South America. This bird is rarely seen in Western Europe as well. Food is foraged high in the trees, and insects are also caught in-flight. Diets may also include bees, wasps and berries. Nests are built in a cup shape on horizontal tree branches. The conservation rating for the Summer Tanager is Least Concern.

VOTE: ILLUSTRATION

Rate this Illustration: Excellent Very Good Good
Fair Below Avg Poor

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

SUMMARY

Overview

Summer Tanager: Large tanager, dark-red overall with a large, pale gray bill. Legs and feet are gray. It is the only entirely red bird in North America. Female has olive-yellow upperparts and dull yellow underparts. Some red morph females have a red wash, red splotches, or are entirely red. It specializes in eating bees and wasps, which is why it is also known as the bee bird. Swift direct flight with quick wing strokes.


Range and Habitat North America

Summer Tanager: Breeds from southern California, Nevada, southern Iowa, across the Ohio River Valley to New Jersey, and south to the Gulf Coast and northern Mexico. Spends winters in tropics, from central Mexico south. Prefers open oak, hickory, and mixed oak-pine woodlands; also found in parks, orchards, and along roadsides.


Range and Habitat Hawaii

whatbird search for your browser

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Summer Tanager’s scientific name basically translates to "a small red bird".
  • Birds in the east usually build nests so flimsy and ragged, the eggs can be seen through the bottom, while the nests of western birds are sturdy and well-constructed.
  • It catches a bee in flight and kills it by beating it against a branch. Before eating it, the tanager removes the stinger by rubbing it on a branch.
  • A group of tanagers are collectively known as a "season" of tanagers.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

If displayed, the purpose of this map is to show how this species is distributed in North America.

Range Map for Summer Tanager HD

RANGE MAP HAWAII

About this Hawaii Map

If displayed, the purpose of this map is to show how this species is distributed across the Hawaiian island chains.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION



SONGS AND CALLS

Lang Elliott Sound

Summer Tanager 3

  • Title: Summer Tanager 3
  • Recordist: Lang Elliott
  • Description: Song is highly varaiable, consists of slurred whistles with pause between phrases.
  • Date: "April 28, 2014"
  • Location: FL

Song is highly varaiable, consists of slurred whistles with pause between phrases.

Summer Tanager 4

  • Title: Summer Tanager 4
  • Recordist: Lang Elliott
  • Description: Dawn song.
  • Date: "April 28, 2014"
  • Location: OK

Dawn song.

Summer Tanager 6

  • Title: Summer Tanager 6
  • Recordist: Lang Elliott
  • Description: "Pitick" call of the male.
  • Date: "April 28, 2014"
  • Location: FL

"Pitick" call of the male.

Summer Tanager 7

  • Title: Summer Tanager 7
  • Recordist: Lang Elliott
  • Description: Chatter calls.
  • Date: "April 28, 2014"
  • Location: FL

Chatter calls.

Summer Tanager 8

  • Title: Summer Tanager 8
  • Recordist: Lang Elliott
  • Description: Rapid chatter calls.
  • Date: "April 28, 2014"
  • Location: AZ

Rapid chatter calls.

Similar Sounding Lang

Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1

  • Title: Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1
  • Recordist: Lang Elliott
  • Description: Warbling robin-like song.
  • Date: "April 28, 2014"
  • Location: IL

Warbling robin-like song.

Voice Text

"pituck", "tipi-tuck-i-tuck"

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Michael Oberhofer

.
UnderpartsX
Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.
UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X