The Summer Tanager is a beautiful songbird that is found across much of the United States and Mexico. It is a medium-sized bird with a rounded body, long tail, and a large bill. Its wings are mostly black with some red feathers along the edges. Its underside is bright yellow or orange, giving it its distinctive summer look. The Summer Tanager has an impressive vocal repertoire that includes intricate whistles and chirps, allowing it to be easily recognized in its natural habitat. These birds are also known to be highly territorial and will fiercely defend their nesting area against other birds.The Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra) is a medium-sized American songbird. It is a member of the cardinal family and is found in the southern and southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central America. The male is bright red with black wings and tail; the female is yellow-green with some red on the wings. They eat mainly insects, fruits, and berries.

Physical Characteristics

The Summer Tanager is a medium-sized songbird with a rounded body and short, pointed wings. It has a bright orange-red head and underparts, and the rest of the plumage is dark gray. The tail is long, square-tipped, and relatively stiff. Its bill is stout, black, and slightly conical in shape. The legs are grayish-black in color. The adult male Summer Tanager has an iridescent yellow rump patch that can be seen when it flies away. The female Summer Tanager is paler than the male, with pale gray underparts and a dull olive head. Juvenile birds resemble the female but have brownish-gray markings on their upperparts.

The Summer Tanager measures around 8 to 9 inches (20 to 23 cm) in length and weighs about 1 ounce (30 grams).

Where Does the Summer Tanager Live?

The Summer Tanager is a species of bird that is native to North and South America. It is found in a wide range of habitats ranging from open woodlands and forests to wetlands, grasslands, and even urban areas. It prefers areas with plenty of trees and shrubs for cover, as well as plenty of open space for foraging. The Summer Tanager typically breeds in the eastern half of the United States, from New England to Texas, and south into Central America. In winter, it can be found in much of the southern United States, Central America, northern South America, and the Caribbean. Its range also extends north into Canada during migration.

The Summer Tanager feeds mainly on insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, moths, caterpillars, ants and bees. It will also occasionally eat fruits such as cherries and berries. The bird hunts by spotting its prey from a perch before swooping down to catch it with its bill. During breeding season it will often be seen gathering food for its young in trees or on the ground.

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What Does the Summer Tanager Eat?

The Summer Tanager is a species of songbird native to North and South America. It has a varied diet, consisting of fruits, seeds, insects, and nectar. During the breeding season, they will eat more insects to fuel their energy while they are busy raising their young. During the winter months, they feed mostly on fruits as an important source of energy.

Summer Tanagers will visit backyard bird feeders to feed on sunflower seeds and other birdseed mixes. They also eat wild berries such as mulberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Insects form a major part of their diet during the summer months, with caterpillars being one of their favorite foods. They will also feed on spiders, beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, wasps and other types of flying insects.

Nectar from flowers can be an important food source for the Summer Tanager during spring migration when insects may not be as abundant. During this time they may also sip from hummingbird feeders or visit hummingbird flowers for nectar. In addition to these foods, Summer Tanagers will also eat small lizards or snails when available in their environment.

Overall, Summer Tanagers have a varied diet which helps them survive in different environments throughout the year. They are mainly insectivores but can switch to nectar and fruit if necessary. Backyard birders can help attract them by providing fruits such as apples or oranges as well as sunflower seeds at their feeders!

How Does a Summer Tanager Behave?

The summer tanager is an active and social bird. They often form small flocks, and they are very vocal. They will often sing loudly and call to one another while in flight. During the breeding season, they become more solitary and territorial. The male will aggressively defend his territory from other males, and he may even chase away other birds that enter his territory.

Summer tanagers live in a variety of habitats including open woodlands, savannas, and shrublands. They feed mainly on insects, but they will also eat berries, fruits, and some seeds. They forage for food on the ground or in the air by picking it up with their bill or feet. They may also glean food from foliage or bark.

Summer tanagers are monogamous during the breeding season and form long-term pair bonds with their mate. The female builds a cup-shaped nest out of twigs and grasses and lines it with softer materials such as fur or feathers. She then lays 2 to 6 eggs which she incubates for 12 to 14 days until they hatch. Both parents help to feed the young birds until they can fend for themselves.

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During winter months, summer tanagers may migrate south or form large flocks that travel together looking for food sources in different places each day. In urban areas where people provide bird feeders filled with fruit or seeds, these flocks may gather around them looking for a meal.

How Long Does a Summer Tanager Live?

The average lifespan of a summer tanager is around 10 years, although it can live up to 15 years in the wild. The oldest known summer tanager was recorded as living for 17 years. In captivity, some summer tanagers have been known to live for up to 20 years.

Summer tanagers have a wide range of predators that can affect their lifespan. These include hawks, owls, snakes, cats, and other birds of prey. They are also susceptible to parasites and diseases such as avian malaria and West Nile virus which can reduce their lifespan.

Their diet consists mainly of insects, berries, fruits, and seeds which they find in their natural habitat. They also feed on nectar from flowers which provides them with the necessary nutrients they need to stay healthy and survive for long periods of time.

Summer Tanagers are migratory birds that spend the winter months in Central America before returning back to North America during the late spring and early summer. During migration they face many dangers such as storms, strong winds, predators, and limited food sources which can reduce their lifespan if they are not able to find sufficient food or shelter during these times.

Overall, the average life expectancy for a summer tanager is around 10 years but with proper care and protection from predators it is possible for them to live longer than this.

What Sound Does a Summer Tanager Make?

The summer tanager is a beautiful songbird that is native to North and South America. It has a melodious, sweet voice and its call is often described as ‘tee-dee-dee-dee’. The male’s song mainly consists of two notes, with the first note being higher than the second. This call is repeated several times and typically lasts about two seconds. The female has a similar call but it is shorter and softer than the male’s.

It is believed that the summer tanager uses its vocalizations to communicate with other birds in its species, as well as to attract mates. They are also known to be quite territorial and will often use their calls to mark their territory boundaries. In addition, they may use their calls to warn other birds away from their nests or food sources.

The summer tanager also produces various other sounds when it feels threatened or startled, such as clicking and chirping noises. These noises are usually short in duration and can be quite loud depending on the bird’s age and size. Additionally, they may produce a loud squawking sound if they become agitated or feel threatened by a predator.

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Overall, the summer tanager has an impressive range of vocalizations which it uses to communicate with other birds in its species and to protect itself from predators. Its melodious song is one of the most recognizable bird calls in North America, making it an important part of our natural soundscape.

Conservation Status of the Summer Tanager

The conservation status of the Summer Tanager is currently listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. This means that the species is widely distributed and not currently facing any major threats. The species is found in many countries throughout its range and is quite common in some areas. Populations are believed to be stable, although there is potential for a decrease due to habitat loss or degradation. The species is also hunted by humans in some areas, which could affect population numbers.

Overall, the conservation status of the Summer Tanager is considered to be favorable and it does not appear to be under any immediate threat. In order to ensure their continued survival, it is important that their habitats are protected from destruction or over exploitation by humans, as well as reducing hunting activity where possible. Monitoring of population numbers should also continue in order to detect any changes in numbers that could indicate a decline in their population levels.

Conservation efforts should focus on preserving existing habitat for this species, ensuring that they have adequate food sources and nesting sites available and reducing hunting pressure as much as possible. With these efforts in place, it should be possible for this species to remain at its current level of abundance for many years to come.


The Summer Tanager is a beautiful and captivating bird found in the United States and parts of Mexico. It has striking red and yellow plumage, and its diet consists of mostly insects, berries, and fruits. The species is monogamous, with males usually developing a single female mate for the entire season. It nests in shrubs, trees, or cacti, often near water sources. Its habitat can range from a variety of different habitats including woodlands, orchards, and even urban areas.

The Summer Tanager plays an important role in the ecosystems of its range by consuming large amounts of insects which helps to control insect populations. It is also a vital part of the food web as other animals such as other birds or mammals may feed on its eggs or chicks.

Overall, the Summer Tanager is an amazing species that deserves to be protected and conserved for future generations to appreciate its beauty and importance to the environment.

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Sony Kespes


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