Return of Bird of the Week: Blue-Gray Tanager

Wickersham's Conscience

Blue-gray Tanager, Costa Rica Blue-gray Tanager, Costa Rica

It might be the most widely distributed and common species of tanager. But it’s still a very handsome bird.

Blue-gray Tanager, Peru Blue-gray Tanager, Peru

At almost any location between southeastern Mexico and central South America, it’s a familiar presence at forest edges, in second-growth forests and along roads and rivers. It can even be found in urban parks and gardens. Blue-gray Tanagers prefer semi-open habitats; they are not found in interior of closed canopy forest, but they can quickly colonize fresh clearings. The habitat preference means they are one of the most common tanagers around human-impacted areas.

Blue-gray Tanager, Ecuador Blue-gray Tanager, Ecuador

They are flexible as well in their diet, eating a wide variety of fruit, and also foraging for arthropods. They are easily attracted to bird feeders that offer fruit. Males and females are identical, but juveniles are drabber. There are fourteen (!) subspecies.

Because this species is widespread…

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