DistributionRead full entry
The breeding range of the western tanager, as described by literature reviews and field guides, includes forests along the western coast of North America from southeastern Alaska south to northern Baja California. Western tanagers extend east to western Texas and north through central New Mexico, central Colorado, extreme northwest Nebraska, and areas of western South Dakota to southern Northwest Territories, Canada [28,54,58,117]. Reviews report the western tanager's wintering range as stretching from central Costa Rica north through Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala to southern Baja California Sur and extreme southeastern Sonora in western Mexico and to southern Tamaulipas in northeastern Mexico. Western tanagers do not typically occur in the Caribbean lowlands. They have been reported wintering further north and have been observed as far south as Panama [28,54,58,117]. Accidentals are rare to casual in the eastern United States [117,129]. A general map of the western tanager's distribution can be found at Cornell's All About Birds website.
The following lists are speculative and are based on western tanager distribution information and the habitat characteristics and species composition of communities western tanagers are known to occupy during migration and breeding. There is not conclusive evidence that western tanagers occur in all the habitat types listed and some community types, especially nonconiferous habitats, may have been omitted. Abundance of western tanagers in the community types listed is variable. Western tanagers are rarely observed in some of the following communities and are quite common in others. See Preferred Habitat for more detail.