Bird’s ID -Blue-gray Tanager

Blue-gray Tanager


The Blue-gray Tanager (Thraupis episcopus) is a medium-sized South American songbird of the tanager family, Thraupidae. Its range is from Mexico south to northeast Bolivia and northern Brazil, all of the Amazon Basin, except the very south. It has been introduced to Lima (Peru). 

The blue-gray tanager is 16–18 cm (6.3–7.1 in) long and weighs 30–40 g (1.1–1.4 oz). Adults have a light bluish head and underparts, with darker blue upperparts and a shoulder patch colored a different hue of blue. The bill is short and quite thick. Sexes are similar, but the immature is much duller in plumage.

The breeding habitat is open woodland, cultivated areas and gardens. The blue-gray tanager lives mainly on fruit, but will also take some nectar and insects. This is a common, restless, noisy and confiding species, usually found in pairs, but sometimes small groups. It thrives around human habitation, and will take some cultivated fruit like papayas (Carica papaya).

One to three, usually two, dark-marked whitish to gray-green eggs are laid in a deep cup nest in a high tree fork or building crevice. Incubation by the female is 14 days with another 17 to fledging. The nest is sometimes parasitized by Molothrus cowbirds.


Photo Gallery



© HJ Ruiz – Avian101

18 thoughts on “Bird’s ID -Blue-gray Tanager

  1. Wonderful photos of the blue-gray tanager, HJ, and good information too. I think the blue-gray is such an elegant bird, and when I do get a chance to see one, I savor the moment.

    • The blue-gray tanagers are beautiful birds, difficult to photograph because they constantly hide behind leafy branches in trees. Thank you, Jet. 🙂

  2. Beautiful photos, H.J.! I love Blue-Gray Tanagers. I was surprised by how different they look between Central and South America but given their wide range I guess it’s only to be expected. Shades of blue-gray… 🙂

    • Thank you, Lisa. The plumage’s different hues for different countries might be influenced by the variety of food that grows locally. 🙂

  3. Sfumature e colori bellissimi, in queste immagini che dànno emozioni nell’osservazione di speciale
    creatura della natura
    Un caro saluto,silvia

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