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Ramphocelus costaricensis

Cherrie's Tanager

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thraupidae
  • Monotypic

Authors: Title, Pascal O., and Kevin J. Burns

Ramphocelus costaricensis

Los Cusingos, Pérez Zeledón, San José, Costa Rica; 7 March 2010 © Luis Vargas Durán

Cherrie’s Tanagers (Ramphocelus costaricensis) are gregarious birds found on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and Panama. Though it was classified for many years as a subspecies of Passerini's Tanager (Ramphocelus passerinii), Cherrie’s Tanager was returned to species status in 1997 (American Ornithologists' Union 1997), based on genetic evidence, lack of hybridization with its sister species, and differences in female plumage. Male plumage is a striking combination of mostly black plumage contrasting with a scarlet-red patch extending from the lower back to the rump. Females have less conspicuous plumage, but have a bright orange rump and band across the breast. This species is most commonly found in forest edge habitat and second growth. These tanagers have a varied diet of fruits and arthropods and form social breeding pairs, though there is high occurrence of extra-pair offspring. Most of our information on Cherrie's Tanager comes from long-term observational studies of this species by Skutch (1954) at one site in Costa Rica.

Recommended Citation

Title, Pascal O., and Kevin J. Burns. 2010. Cherrie's Tanager (Ramphocelus costaricensis), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

This map is based on the maps available from the NatureServe InfoNatura website. The data for these maps are provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE.

  • Migration/Movement:Resident (nonmigratory)
  • Primary Habitat:Tropical lowland evergreen forest edge
  • Foraging Strata:Understory
  • Foraging Behavior:Glean
  • Diet:Omnivorous
  • Sociality:Single-Species Flocks
  • Mating System:Monogamy
  • Nest Form:Cup
  • Clutch: 1 - 3
  • IUCN Status:Least Concern