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Overview

Brief Summary

Piranga rubra

A medium-sized (7-7 ¾ inches) songbird, the male Summer Tanager is most easily identified by its bright red body, wings, and tail. Female Scarlet Tanagers are green above and dull yellow below. Males of this species may be separated from male Scarlet Tanagers (Piranga olivacea) by that species’ black wings and tail and from male Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) by that species’ black face and conspicuous crest, while females may be separated from female Scarlet Tanagers by that species’ darker back and paler breast. The Summer Tanager breeds across much of the southeastern United States north to the Mid-Atlantic region. Other populations breed in the desert southwest, California, and northern Mexico. In winter, Summer Tanagers migrate to southern Mexico, Central America, and northern South America. Summer Tanagers breed in a number of forest habitats, particularly in open woodland and forest edges. In winter, this species is found in a variety of open or shrubby habitats in humid tropical forests. Summer Tanagers mainly eat insects, particularly wasps and bees, during the breeding season, but may eat fruits and berries at other times of the year or when insects are scarce. In appropriate habitat, Summer Tanagers may be observed while flying out from perches to capture insects in the air or while robbing wasp nests for larvae. Birdwatchers may also listen for this species’ song, a series of whistled notes recalling that of the American Robin. Summer Tanagers are most active during the day, but, like many migratory songbirds, this species migrates at night.

Threat Status: Least concern

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Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Breeding

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Global Range: BREEDING: southeastern California across southwestern U.S. to Illinois, Ohio, southwestern Pennsylvania, and southern New Jersey, south to northeastern Baja California, northern Sinaloa, Durango, Gulf Coast, and southern Florida (Robinson 1996). NON-BREEDING: southern Baja California and central Mexico to South America (western Colombia, Ecuador, and northern Peru, scattered records south to southern Peru and northwestern Bolivia and in Venezuela, western Amazonian Brazil, and Guyana and Suriname; Trinidad; casual in Cuba, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, and Netherlands Antilles; accidental in Bermuda and northern Chile) (Ridgely and Tudor 1989, Robinson 1996).

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Geographic Range

Summer tanagers breed throughout the eastern United States south of southern Pennsylvania and northern Illinois, in the southwestern United States and in northern Mexico. They winter from central Mexico through northern South America, as far south as Bolivia and Brazil (Robinson 1996).

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native ); neotropical (Native )

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Geographic Range

Summer tanagers breed throughout the eastern United States south of southern Pennsylvania and northern Illinois, in the southwestern United States and in northern Mexico. They winter from central Mexico through northern South America, as far south as Bolivia and Brazil (Robinson 1996).

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native ); neotropical (Native )

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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Summer tanagers are medium-sized birds. They are larger than other tanagers. They are about 17 cm long and weigh 30 g. Males are bright rose or orange-red all year. They have red wings and tails and do not have a crest. Females have olive backs and orange-yellow bellies. They also have yellow edges on the feathers of their shoulders. Some females begin to look like males as they get older. Young summer tanagers look like adult females, but males often develop red patches during their first winter.

Average mass: 30 g.

Average length: 17 cm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry ; polymorphic

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes colored or patterned differently; male more colorful

Average mass: 40 g.

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Physical Description

Summer tanagers are medium-sized birds, though rather large in comparison to other tanagers. They measure approximately 17 cm long and weigh an average of 30 g. Males are bright rose or orange-red throughout the year, and are distinguished from the scarlet tanager because their plumage is paler--not an intense scarlet--and because the summer tanager's wings and tail are red rather than black. Adult male summer tanagers have no crest. Females are olive above and orange-yellow below. They have conspicuous narrow yellow edging on their wing coverts. Some females develop complete male pigmentation as they age. Juvenile summer tanagers resemble adult females, but males often develop distinctive patches of red during the first winter.

There are two recognized subspecies of summer tanagers. The subspecies P. r. cooperi has paler plumage and is found in the western part of the range. The subspecies P. r. rubra has shorter wings, tails and legs and breeds primarily in the eastern part of the range. Robinson 1996; Isler and Isler1987; Terres,1980)

Average mass: 30 g.

Average length: 17 cm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry ; polymorphic

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes colored or patterned differently; male more colorful

Average mass: 40 g.

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Size

Length: 20 cm

Weight: 30 grams

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Ecology

Habitat

Marismas Nacionales-San Blas Mangroves Habitat

This taxon is found in the Marismas Nacionales-San Blas mangroves ecoregion contains the most extensive block of mangrove ecosystem along the Pacific coastal zone of Mexico, comprising around 2000 square kilometres. Mangroves in Nayarit are among the most productive systems of northwest Mexico. These mangroves and their associated wetlands also serve as one of the most important winter habitat for birds in the Pacific coastal zone, by serving about eighty percent of the Pacific migratory shore bird populations.

Although the mangroves grow on flat terrain, the seven rivers that feed the mangroves descend from mountains, which belong to the physiographic province of the Sierra Madre Occidental. The climate varies from temperate-dry to sub-humid in the summer, when the region receives most of its rainfall (more than 1000 millimetres /year).

Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), Black Mangrove (Avicennia germinans), Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus) and White Mangrove trees (Laguncularia racemosa) occur in this ecoregion. In the northern part of the ecoregion near Teacapán the Black Mangrove tree is dominant; however, in the southern part nearer Agua Brava, White Mangrove dominates. Herbaceous vegetation is rare, but other species that can be found in association with mangrove trees are: Ciruelillo (Phyllanthus elsiae), Guiana-chestnut (Pachira aquatica), and Pond Apple (Annona glabra).

There are are a number of reptiles present, which including a important population of Morelet's Crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii) and American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) in the freshwater marshes associated with tropical Cohune Palm (Attalea cohune) forest. Also present in this ecoregion are reptiles such as the Green Iguana (Iguana iguana), Mexican Beaded Lizard (Heloderma horridum) and Yellow Bellied Slider (Trachemys scripta). Four species of endangered sea turtle use the coast of Nayarit for nesting sites including Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), Olive Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) and Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas).

A number of mammals are found in the ecoregion, including the Puma (Puma concolor), Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), Jaguar (Panthera onca), Southern Pygmy Mouse (Baiomys musculus), Saussure's Shrew (Sorex saussurei). In addition many bat taxa are found in the ecoregion, including fruit eating species such as the Pygmy Fruit-eating Bat (Artibeus phaeotis); Aztec Fruit-eating Bat (Artibeus aztecus) and Toltec Fruit-eating Bat (Artibeus toltecus); there are also bat representatives from the genus myotis, such as the Long-legged Myotis (Myotis volans) and the Cinnamon Myotis (M. fortidens).

There are more than 252 species of birds, 40 percent of which are migratory, including 12 migratory ducks and approximately 36 endemic birds, including the Bumblebee Hummingbird, (Atthis heloisa) and the Mexican Woodnymph (Thalurania ridgwayi). Bojórquez considers the mangroves of Nayarit and Sinaloa among the areas of highest concentration of migratory birds. This ecoregion also serves as wintering habitat and as refuge from surrounding habitats during harsh climatic conditions for many species, especially birds; this sheltering effect further elevates the conservation value of this habitat.

Some of the many representative avifauna are Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis), Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), Roseate Spoonbill (Ajaia ajaja), Snowy Egret (Egretta thula), sanderling (Calidris alba), American Kestrel (Falco sparverius), Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors), Mexican Jacana (Jacana spinosa), Elegant Trogan (Trogan elegans), Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra), White-tailed Hawk (Buteo albicaudatus), Merlin (Falco columbarius), Plain-capped Starthroat (Heliomaster constantii), Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) and Wood Stork (Mycteria americana).

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Comments: BREEDING: Deciduous woods (often near gaps and edges) in eastern U.S., stands of oaks, pines, and hickories in Southeast, and willows and cottonwoods at low elevations along streams and in canyons in Southwest (Robinson 1996). Also in parks. Nests in trees, usually well out on horizontal lower branch, 3-11 m above ground (Harrison 1978). NON-BREEDING: In migration and winter in various forest, woodland, and scrub habitats, and in scattered trees in clearings and pastures; in South America, more numerous in mountains than in lowlands (Hilty and Brown 1986, Ridgely and Tudor 1989).

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Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Summer tanagers prefer to breed and spend the winter in open woodlands. In the eastern United States, summer tanagers inhabit open hardwood forests. In the western United States, they usually breed in riparian forests of cottonwoods and willows. They are also found in orchards, parks and roadside trees. In the winter, summer tanagers live in tropical forests of tall trees with an open canopy. They usually live at low elevations, but sometimes live as high as 1800 m above sea level.

Range elevation: 1800 (high) m.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical

Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; rainforest

Other Habitat Features: suburban ; agricultural ; riparian

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In summer in the eastern portion of its range, summer tanagers primarily inhabit open woodlands of mixed oak and other hardwood trees. In the west, they live in riparian woodlands of cottonwoods and willows. They are also sometimes found in orchards, parks and roadside trees. In the winter, they continue to inhabit open woodlands, as well as tall secondary growth, gallery forest, forest edge, shaded plantations, and trees in parks and gardens along city streets. In Mexico, summer tanagers inhabit humid evergreen forest and tropical deciduous forest. Summer tanagers are typically found at low elevations, though they winter as high as 1800 m in Panama. (Robinson 1996; Isler and Isler 1987)

Range elevation: 1800 (high) m.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical

Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; rainforest

Other Habitat Features: suburban ; agricultural ; riparian

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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

Early arrivals in the U.S. reach Florida before the end of March, but the main northward migration in the U.S. is from April to early May (Terres 1980). Arrives in Costa Rica in mid-September, departs mid- to late April (Stiles and Skutch 1989). Arrives in Colombia by early October, departs by late April (Hilty and Brown 1986).

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Eats various insects (especially bees and wasps), spiders, and small fruits (Terres 1980). NON-BREEDING: eats fruits, tears into wasp and bee nests for larvae and pupae, catches insects in flight, picks prey from leaves and branches, visits feeders for bananas (Stiles and Skutch 1989, Rappole and Warner 1980).

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Food Habits

Summer tanagers mostly eat insects. They eat many different kinds of insects, including Coleoptera, Anisoptera, grubs, Cicadidae, grasshoppers, Formicidae, caterpillars, weevils and Araneae. They also eat fruits, especially in winter and during migration. Blackberries, whortleberries, mulberries, pokeweed, citrus and bananas are some of the fruits they eat.

The most common foods that summer tanagers eat are Apoidea and wasps. The tanagers attack wasp nests over and over until the wasps leave the nest. Once the adult wasps leave, the tanager can eat the larvae inside the nest.

Summer tanagers usually look for food in the tree tops, where they can catch bees as they are flying. After a summer tanager catches an insect, it takes the insect to a perch and beats it against the perch to kill the insect. It also wipes the insect on a branch to remove the stingers and other hard body parts.

Summer tanagers probably get enough water from the foods that they eat. They do not need to drink water.

Animal Foods: insects

Plant Foods: fruit

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Food Habits

Summer tanagers are primarily insectivorous, eating a wide variety of flying and non-flying insects, such as beetles (order Coleoptera), dragonflies (suborder Anisoptera), grubs, cicadas (family Cicadidae), grasshoppers, ants (family Formicidae), caterpillars, weevils and spiders (order Araneae). They also eat fruits such as blackberries, whortleberries, mulberries, pokeweed, citrus and bananas, especially during the late breeding season, migration and on the winter range. However, the primary components of summer tanagers’ diets are bees (superfamily Apoidea) and wasps. They frequently attack wasp nests until the wasps abandon their nest, leaving the larvae for the tanager to devour. Summer tanagers occasionally capture food on the ground, but forage primarily in the tops of trees, where adult bees and wasps are caught in flight. Once prey has been caught, tanagers take the insect back to a perch and beat it against the perch until it dies. By wiping wasps on a branch before eating them, tanagers removes the stingers and other inedible body parts. (Robinson, 1996; Isler and Isler, 1987; Terres, 1980)

Animal Foods: insects

Plant Foods: fruit

Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore )

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Associations

Ecosystem Roles

Summer tanagers affect the populations of the insects they eat. They also spread the seeds of the plants whose fruits they eat. They also host at least three parasites, one lice species and two species of mites.

Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds

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Predation

Summer tanagers are probably killed by hawks, such as Accipiter cooperii. Their eggs and nestlings are probably taken by larger birds, such as Cyanocitta cristata, and climbing mammals such as Procyon lotor and Sciurus. Snakes, such as Elaphe obsolete probably also eat summer tanager eggs and chicks. When predators come near a nest, summer tanagers mob them by diving at them and calling over and over.

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Ecosystem Roles

Summer tanagers affect the populations of the insects they eat. They also spread seeds of the plants whose fruits they eat. They host at least three species of external parasites, including a louse (Philopterus subflavescens) and two mites (Trombicula irritans and Sternostoma pirangae).

Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds

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Predation

Predation of summer tanagers has not been directly observed. However, summer tanagers have been seen reacting aggressively to blue jays, Cooper’s hawks, raccoons, squirrels and black rat snakes, suggesting that these are potential predators. Summer tanagers do mob predators, diving at them and calling vigorously. (Robinson 1996)

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General Ecology

Solitary and territorial in winter (Rappole and Warner 1980), though may join mixed flocks (Stiles and Skutch 1989).

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication and Perception

Summer tanagers communicate using songs, calls and physical displays. Male summer tanagers defend their territory by singing and chasing rival males. They also often counter-sing (respond to other males by singing) at the beginning of the breeding season. Males attract female mates by singing and chasing the females. Summer tanagers have a musical song that is different from the buzzy songs of other tanagers. They also use several call notes to communicate.

Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic

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Communication and Perception

Summer tanagers communicate using vocalizations and physical displays. Male summer tanagers defend their nest site and territory by singing and chasing rival males, sometimes coming into physical contact during these chases. They also engage in counter-singing at the beginning of the breeding season. This is the practice of singing in response to neighboring males. Males attract mates by singing and chasing the females. Summer tanagers have a musical song unlike the buzzy songs of other tanagers. They also use several call notes to communicate (Robinson, 1996; Isler and Isler, 1987; Terres, 1980).

Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

The oldest wild summer tanager lived at least 5 years.

Range lifespan

Status: wild:
5 (high) years.

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
95 months.

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Lifespan/Longevity

The longest recorded lifespan of a summer tanager is 5 years. There is very little information on survivorship and life span of this species (Robinson 1996).

Range lifespan

Status: wild:
5 (high) years.

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
95 months.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 7.9 years (wild)
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Reproduction

Eggs laid mostly May-June. Clutch size three to five (usually four). Incubation 12 days, young leave nest eight to ten days after hatching, young tended by both parents for two to four weeks after fledging (Robinson 1996).

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Summer tanagers breed once per year. They are serially monogamous. This means that they stay with the same mate for a whole breeding season, but may have a different mate each year. Breeding pairs form soon after arriving on the breeding grounds in the spring, and split up after the young leave in late summer. Male summer tanagers arrive on the breeding grounds a few days before females arrive. They try to attract a female by singing and chasing her. They may also display before the female, carrying food items and hopping about.

Mating System: monogamous

Summer tanagers breed once per year in the spring and summer. They are serially monogamous. This means that they keep the same mate for a whole breeding season, but they may have a different mate each year. Male summer tanagers arrive in the spring a few days before females arrive. They try to attract a female mate by singing and chasing her.

After breeding pairs have formed, the female begins building a nest. The nest is made of dried plants and grasses. It is usually built on a branch 2.5 to 10.5 m above the ground. Summer tanagers in the western U.S. seem to build sturdier nests than the summer tanagers in the eastern U.S.

The female begins laying eggs soon after she completes the nest. She lays 3 to 4 eggs that are smooth, glossy, and pale blue or pale green with reddish-brown spots. She incubates the eggs for 12 to 13 days. During the incubation, the male spends a lot of time resting and caring for his feathers. Some males may bring food to the female while she is incubating.

Both parents feed the chicks after they hatch. The parents give the chicks whole pieces of food, but they may regurgitate food for very young chicks. After 8 to 10 days, the chicks begin to leave the nest. By the time they are 10 days old, the chicks can make short flights. The parents continue to feed the chicks for 2 to 4 weeks after they leave the nest. The chicks will be able to breed the next summer.

Breeding interval: Summer tanagers breed once annually.

Breeding season: Summer tanagers breed between April and August.

Range eggs per season: 2 to 4.

Average eggs per season: 3.5.

Range time to hatching: 12 to 13 days.

Range fledging age: 8 to 10 days.

Range time to independence: 2 to 4 weeks.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 1 years.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 1 years.

Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)

Average eggs per season: 4.

The female lays 3 to 4 eggs, which she incubates for 12 to 13 days. During this time, the male may feed her. The chicks are altricial when they hatch, and must be brooded by the female for the first 4 days. Both parents feed the chicks for 8 to 10 days, while they are still in the nest. After they leave the nest, the parents continue to feed the chicks for 2 to 4 weeks. Both parents also keep the nest clean by removing the fecal sacs of the chicks.

Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female)

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Summer tanagers breed once annually, and raise one brood per summer. They are serially monogamous, that is, they keep one mate throughout each breeding season, but not necessarily in successive seasons. Breeding pairs form soon after arriving on the breeding grounds in the spring, and split up after the young disperse late in the breeding season. Male summer tanagers arrive on the breeding grounds in full song, usually a few days before females arrive. Courtship begins with frequent, sudden, energetic chases of the female by the male. Males may also display before the female, carrying food items and hopping about. Little else is known about summer tanager courtship.

Mating System: monogamous

Summer tanagers breed once annually, and raise one brood per summer. They serially monogamous and sexually mature at one year of age. Breeding pairs form soon after arriving on the breeding grounds, and split up after the young disperse late in the breeding season.

Nest building begins 2 to 4 weeks after the birds arrive on the breeding grounds in spring. The nest is usually built out on a horizontal branch about 2.5 to 10.5 m from the ground. The female builds the nest alone, though she is often accompanied by the male while searching for a site and suitable nest-building materials. The nest is constructed primarily of dried herbaceous vegetation, and lined with fine grasses. There seems to be some regional variation in the quality of summer tanager nests; birds in the eastern range usually build flimsy and ragged nests, while the nests of summer tanagers in the western part of the range are sturdy and well-constructed. (Robinson 1996; Isler and Isler 1987; Terres 1980)

Egg-laying begins immediately after the nest is completed. The female lays 3 to 4 eggs that are smooth and somewhat glossy, pale blue or pale green, and spotted reddish brown. Incubation is carried out by the female only and lasts 12 to 13 days. During this time, the male spends a lot of time resting and caring for his feathers. In some pairs, however, the male feeds the incubating female, who may beg him for food. The chicks are fed by both parents after hatching, though males may do so indirectly by first giving the food to the female, who then gives it to the chicks. The young are fed primarily whole food, though some regurgitated food is also given. After 8 to 10 days, the young leave the nest, and by day 10, they are can make short, fluttery flights. The adults attend the young for 2 to 4 weeks after fledging. (Robinson 1996; Isler and Isler 1987; Terres 1980)

Breeding interval: Summer tanagers breed once annually.

Breeding season: Summer tanagers breed between April and August.

Range eggs per season: 2 to 4.

Average eggs per season: 3.5.

Range time to hatching: 12 to 13 days.

Range fledging age: 8 to 10 days.

Range time to independence: 2 to 4 weeks.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 1 years.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 1 years.

Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)

Average eggs per season: 4.

The female lays 3 to 4 eggs, which she incubates for 12 to 13 days. During this time, the male may feed the female. Both parents feed the altricial chicks during the nestling stage, which lasts 8 to 10 days. The female also broods the chicks for at least four days after hatching. Both parents feed the chicks for 2 to 4 weeks after they fledge.

During the nestling stage, both parents sanitize the nest by removing fecal sacs. (Robinson 1996; Isler and Isler 1987; Terres 1980).

Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female)

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Piranga rubra

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 4 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNTGAGCCTCCTCATCCGAGCAGAGNNGGNANAACCTGGAGCCCTTCTAGGAGACGACCAGGTCTACAATGTAGTCGTCACAGCCCATGCTTTCGTAATAATTTTCTTCATAGTTATACCAATTATAATCGGAGGGTTTGGAAACTGACTAGTCCCCCTAATAATTGGAGCCCCAGATATAGCATTCCCACGAATAAATAACATAAGCTTCTGACTACTTCCCCCATCCTTCCTTCTGCTCCTAGCATCCTCCACCGTAGAAGCGGGTGTCGGTACTGGCTGAACAGTATACCCCCCACTAGCCGGCAACCTAGCCCACGCTGGAGCCTCAGTTGATCTGGCAATCTTCTCTCTTCACCTAGCTGGTATCTCTTCAATCCTCGGAGCCATTAACTTTATCACAACAGCAATCAACATGAAGCCCCCTGCTCTCTCACAATACCAAACTCCCCTATTCGTTTGATCCGTCCTAATCACTGCAGTTCTACTACTTCTCTCTCTCCCTGTACTAGCTGCAGGAATCACAATACTCCTCACAGACCGTAACCTCAACACCACATTCTTTGACCCTGCAGGAGGAGGCGACCCCATTCTATACCAACATCTTTTCTGATTCTTCGGCCATCCAGAAGTCTACATCCTAATCCTA
-- end --

Download FASTA File
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Piranga rubra

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 5
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5B - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
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Summer tanagers are not endangered or threatened. Their population size has remained steady in the United States. The biggest threat to summer tanager populations is destruction of their forest habitat. However, many summer tanagers are also killed each year when they crash into television towers during migration.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

US Migratory Bird Act: protected

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

State of Michigan List: no special status

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The North American breeding population of summer tanagers has remained relatively steady, and there are no pressing concerns for protection of this species. They are not protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, but are protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Act. The most significant human impact on this species is probably destruction of breeding habitat. However collision with television towers during nocturnal migrations is also a significant source of mortality.

There are two recognized subspecies of summer tanager: P. r. cooperi in the west, and P. r. rubra in the east. (Robinson 1996)

US Migratory Bird Act: protected

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

State of Michigan List: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Population

Population Trend
Stable
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known adverse affects of summer tanagers on humans.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Summer tanagers eat insect species that some people consider to be pests, such as Apoidea and wasps.

Positive Impacts: controls pest population

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Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known adverse affects of summer tanagers on humans.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Summer tanagers eat insect species that some people consider to be pests, such as bees and wasps.

Positive Impacts: controls pest population

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Wikipedia

Summer Tanager

The Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra), is a medium-sized American songbird. Formerly placed in the tanager family (Thraupidae), it and other members of its genus are now classified in the cardinal family (Cardinalidae).[2] The species's plumage and vocalizations are similar to other members of the cardinal family.

Their breeding habitat is open wooded areas, especially with oaks, across the southern United States, extending as far north as Iowa. These birds migrate to Mexico, Central America and northern South America. This tanager is an extremely rare vagrant to western Europe.

Adults have stout pointed bills and measure 17 cm (6.7 in) in length and 29 g (1.0 oz) in weight.[3][4] Adult males are rose red and similar in appearance to the Hepatic Tanager, although the latter has a dark bill; females are orangish on the underparts and olive on top, with olive-brown wings and tail. As with all other birds, all red and orange colorations are acquired through their diet.

These birds are often out of sight, foraging high in trees, sometimes flying out to catch insects in flight. They mainly eat insects, especially bees and wasps, and berries. Fruit of Cymbopetalum mayanum (Annonaceae) are an especially well-liked food in their winter quarters and birds will forage in human-altered habitat.[5] Consequently, these trees can be planted to entice them to residential areas, and they may well be attracted to bird feeders. Summer Tanagers build a cup nest on a horizontal tree branch.

Voice[edit]

The Summer Tanager has an American Robin-like song, similar enough that novices sometimes mistake this bird for that species. The song consists of melodic units, repeated in a constant stream. The Summer Tanager's song, however, is much more monotonous than that of T. migratorius, often consisting of as few as 3 or 4 distinct units. It is clearer and less nasal than the song of the Scarlet Tanager.

The Summer Tanager also has a sharp, agitated-sounded call pi-tuk or pik-i-tuk-i-tuk.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Piranga rubra". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Remsen, J. V., Jr., C. D. Cadena, A. Jaramillo, M. Nores, J. F. Pacheco, M. B. Robbins, T. S. Schulenberg, F. G. Stiles, D. F. Stotz, and K. J. Zimmer. Version [2009-04-02]. [A classification of the bird species of South America. American Ornithologists' Union.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ CRC Handbook of Avian Body Masses by John B. Dunning Jr. (Editor). CRC Press (1992), ISBN 978-0-8493-4258-5.
  5. ^ Foster, Mercedes S. (2007): The potential of fruiting trees to enhance converted habitats for migrating birds in southern Mexico. Bird Conservation International 17(1): 45-61. doi:10.1017/S0959270906000554 PDF fulltext
  6. ^ Peterson, Roger Tory & Peterson, Virginia Marie (2002): Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern and Central North America (5th ed.). Houghton Mifflin, Boston. ISBN 0-395-74046-0
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Mitochondrial genetic data from several studies (Burns 1997; Burns et al. 2002, 2003; Klicka et al. 2000, 2007) provide strong evidence that this genus, previously placed in the Thraupidae, is a member of the Cardinalidae.

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