Scarlet tanagers are 16 to 17 cm long with a wingspan of 25 to 29 cm. They weigh from 23.5 to 33 grams during the breeding season and from 32 to 38 grams during migration. Mature males in breeding season are bright red with black wings and tails, in the winter they resemble females except for their black wings and tail. Females and immature birds are dull, olive green above and straw-yellow below with dark wings and tail.
Females, immature individuals, and males in winter plumage are sometimes confused with female and immature summer tanagers (Piranga rubra) or western tanagers (Piranga ludoviciana), with which they sometimes co-occur. Some details of plumage color help to distinguish these species, as do their distinctive calls. Scarlet tanagers use a hoarse "chip-churr" call, while western tanagers use a soft "pri-tic" call and summer tanagers use a staccato "pit-i-tuck" call.
Range mass: 23.5 to 38 g.
Range length: 16 to 17 cm.
Range wingspan: 25 to 29 cm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: male more colorful