Black-and-gold Tanager Bangsia melanochlamys


Diet and Foraging


The Black and Gold Tanager is primarily a canopy frugivore, supplementing fruits with arthropods (Hilty 1985, Pearman 1993, Stiles 1998, Ayala 2017). They have been observed foraging on insects, by deliberately searching epiphytes, but their primary food source is fruits. They are known to consume the fruits of Ericaceae (Cavendishia and Psammisia), Marcgraviaceae (Marcgravia), Melastomataceae (Miconia and Topobaea), Clusiaceae (Clusia), berries from Rubiaceae, as well as fruit from an unidentified mistletoe (Stiles 1998, Sedano 2014). Seeds have also been reported as a diet item (Restall et al. 2006). Fledglings are occasionally fed fruit, probably including Marcgravia (Stiles 1998). They have also been observed crushing and discarding the petals of Cavendishia flowers to extract the nectar (Stiles 1998). Stomach contents of collected birds (n=8) contained 75-100% fruit and the remainder consists of insects (Stiles 1998). The foraging strata of this species is the canopy and sub-canopy (Pearman 1993, Parker et al. 1996, Stiles 1998, Cuervo et al. 2008a).

Foraging Behavior

Typically they forage in the subcanopy and middle levels of the forest, though sometimes birds will venture low in the forest strata for fruits (Cuervo et al. 2008a, Sedano 2014). Birds in mixed-species flocks typically forage for insects and other arthropods (Stiles 1998, though see Pearman 1993). They will glean insects in moss tufts, epiphytes, and small to medium-sized branches (Stiles 1998, Ayala 2017). They will sometimes lean far forward to scan the undersides of branches, occasionally hanging upside-down to reach insects, fruits, or flowers (Pearman 1993, Stiles 1998). Fruits are often picked while perched, usually crushed in their bills with husks and larger seeds discarded (Stiles 1998, Ayala 2017). Birds foraging for fruit will hop heavily and rapidly along branches (Stiles 1998).

Recommended Citation

Black-and-gold Tanager (Bangsia melanochlamys), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: