Hepatic Tanager Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    A medium-sized, solidly built songbird with a short, heavy bill, relatively long tail and wings, and strong legs and feet.

    Relative Size

    Larger than a Hermit Thrush, smaller than an American Robin.

    Relative Sizebetween sparrow and robinbetween sparrow and robin
    Measurements
    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 7.9 in (20 cm)
      • Weight: 0.8-1.7 oz (23-47 g)
      • Wingspan: 12.6 in (32 cm)

Regional Differences

Ornithologists recognize 15 subspecies. Of these, only two inhabit the United States: hepatica mostly in Arizona and southwestern New Mexico, and the smaller, more brightly colored dextra in the rest of New Mexico and western Texas. The others inhabit Central and South America. Some studies suggest that at least two of these subspecies should be recognized as full species, the “Tooth-billed Tanager” of Costa Rica to northern South America, and the “Red Tanager” of eastern South America.