8 Surprising Facts About Tanagers
Take a peek into the vibrant world of North American tanagers. Learn about tanagers' nests, plumage and their favorite foods.
1. Flame-Colored Tanagers Are Rare in the U.S.
A flame-colored tanager was spotted in the U.S. for the first time in 1985. The species is still a rare visitor in Arizona’s Chiricahua Mountains. Here’s where to find flame-colored and hepatic tanagers.
2. Tanagers Nest in Tall Trees
Look to the treetops for tanager birds and their nests. The birds construct homes on branches as high as 75 feet. Check out proven tips to attract nesting birds.
3. Look for Western Tanagers Up North
Western tanagers breed farther north than any other tanager. (Psst — check out 11 gorgeous photos of western tanagers.) Their northernmost range stretches into Canada’s Northwest Territories, where it’s so cold that they may stay only two months before heading south.
Meet the boreal birds of the northwoods.
4. Learn to ID North American Tanager Species
Five tanager species are found in North America: summer, scarlet, western, hepatic, and flame-colored. Some of the yellow tanagers look alike — here’s how tell them apart.
5. Only Bird With Completely Red Plumage
There are a few mostly red birds (northern cardinals, pine grosbeaks, vermillion flycatchers) in North America, but the male summer tanager is the only one with completely red coloring. Check out 9 birds that look like cardinals.
6. Western Birds Have Longer Bills and Tails
Summer tanagers in the west have 15 percent longer bills and tails than the ones in the east. Learn more about western birds and their eastern counterparts.
7. Tanagers Eat Berries
Attract scarlet tanagers to your backyard with berry-producing trees and shrubs. Six that will do the trick: raspberry, huckleberry, serviceberry, mulberry, strawberry, and chokeberry. Do scarlet tanagers eat oranges?
8. Tanagers Help Control Caterpillars
People once believed that a scarlet tanager could eat 2,000 spongy moth caterpillars in an hour. That’s false, but these birds do help control pests.