Bay-headed Tanager Tangara gyrola

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thraupidae
  • Polytypic: 9 subspecies
  • Authors: Kevin J. Burns and Cyndarienne Mireles


  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the Bay-headed Tanager
eBird range map for Bay-headed Tanager

Generated from eBird observations (Year-Round, 1900-present)

Distribution in the Americas

Bay-headed Tanagers occur on both slopes in Costa Rica (north to the Cordillera de Tilarán; Stiles and Skutch 1989) and in western Panama. The distriubution extends south along the Pacific coast of Colombia and Ecuador to extreme northwestern Peru (Tumbes; Wiedenfeld et al. 1985). Also found on both slopes of all three Andean ranges in Colombia; from the eastern Andes of Colombia, the range extends south to central Bolivia. Occurs as well in northern Colombia in the Santa Marta mountains, in the Andes of Venezuela, and in the coastal cordilleras of Venezuela east to Trinidad. In the lowlands east of the Andes, is found from southeastern Venezuela and adjacent northern Brazil east across the Guianas to Amapá, Brazil (Novaes 1978).Distribution of Bay-headed Tanager in Peru. Solid circles: specimen records; open circles; sight records; dotted line: 1000 m contour (Schulenberg et al. 2006)

Also occurs in the lowlands east of the Andes from southeastern Colombia south at least to southeastern Peru, and east into Brazil, both north and south of the Amazon.

The elevational distribution is from the lowlands up to 1800 meters (Parker et al. 1996), but some subspecies have more restricted elevational distributions (Isler and Isler 1999).

The Bay-headed Tanager is resident in most of its range, but some populations move about seasonally. In Costa Rica, they move downslope to 100 meter or less on the Caribbean side in response to the late rainy season (Stiles and Skutch 1989). In Panama, the species moved out of a study area during the dry season (Karr 1977).

The distribution of the Bay-headed Tanager includes the following zoogeographic regions: Northern and Southern Amazonia, the Central and Northern Andes, the Chiriquí Darién Highlands of Panama, the Choco Lowlands of Colombia and Tepuis of Venezuela (Parker et al. 1996).

Distribution outside the Americas

This species is endemic to the Americas.


The Bay-headed Tanager is found in a variety of habitats.  They prefer lowland evergreen forest and montane evergreen forests (Parker et al. 1996).  Additionally, they can be found in adjacent clearings, second growth, and plantations (Isler and Isler 1999). In Trinidad, 85% of observations were in forested habitat, while 15% of observations were in non-forested habitat (Snow and Snow 1971). Naoki (2003) observed a significant difference in habitat between the breeding and nonbreeding season in Costa Rica. During the nonbreeding season, 82% of the observations occurred in forested areas; during the breeding season, only 66% of the observations occurred in forested habitat.

Historical changes

No information.

Fossil history

No information.

Recommended Citation

Burns, K. J. and C. Mireles (2010). Bay-headed Tanager (Tangara gyrola), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.