- 6.7 in
- 1.1 oz
- Tangara vermillon (French)
- Cardenal veranero, Cardenal rojo, Tángara de Paso, Tángara rojo, Tángara veranera, Candelo unicolor (Spanish)
- The Summer Tanager is considered a bee and wasp specialist. It usually catches a bee in flight and then kills it by beating it against a branch. Before eating the bee, the tanager removes the stinger by rubbing it on a branch. The tanager eats bee and wasp larvae too. It first catches the adult insects and then perches near the nest to tear it open and get the grubs.
- Like most birds that migrate long distances, the Summer Tanager puts on large amounts of fat to fuel the long flight. Tanagers arriving in Panama had enough fat to fly an estimated additional 890 km (553 mi).
- Where Summer and Scarlet tanagers occur together, the Summer Tanager prefers to breed in shorter and more open woodlands. In the West, the Summer Tanager breeds in lowlands along streams while the Western and Hepatic tanagers use coniferous forests at higher elevations.
- Breeds in deciduous forests in eastern part of range, especially open woods and near gaps.
- In Southeast, breeds in pine-oak forests.
- In West, uses riparian woodlands.
- Winters in wide range of open and second-growth habitats.
Insects, especially bees and wasps. Fruit outside of breeding season.
- Clutch Size
- 2–5 eggs
- Egg Description
- Pale blue to pale green, marked with dark spots and blotches.
- Condition at Hatching
- Helpless with patches of down.
Nest an open cup of dried grasses and other vegetation. Placed among cluster of leaves or in fork of branches on horizontal branch, often hanging over road or other opening.
Captures insects by taking short flights from a perch after flying insects, plucking them from leaves while hovering, and picking them from leaves. Beats prey against branch to kill it.
Considered a Species of Special Concern in California. Most populations stable.
- Robinson, W. D. 1996. Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra). In The Birds of North America, No. 248 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.