Beryl-spangled Tanager Tangara nigroviridis

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thraupidae
  • Polytypic: 4 subspecies
  • Authors: Dalia Ruiz Ruiz and Kevin J. Burns


Geographic Variation

There are four currently recognized subspecies in Tanagara nigroviridis. Below, distributional information for each come from Storer (1970) and Hilty (2011), and plumage descriptions come from Restall et al. (2007a) and Nørgaard-Olesen (1973).

Tangara nigroviridis cyanescens: Described by Sclater in 1857; type locality Colonia de Tovar, near Caracas, Venezuela.

Inhabits the Andes of Colombia to northern Venezuela and western Ecuador. Blue in coloration; more turquoise than in nominate nigroviridis. The breast, sides, and flanks are a solid turquoise with a white belly and vent. The undertail coverts are more contrasting, black and white.

Tangara nigroviridis lozanoana: Described by Aveledo and Pérez in 1994.

Inhabits the mountains of northwestern Venezuela (Táchira, Mérida, Zulia and Lara). Larger in size and tends to have more turquoise on its crown. On its belly, it has larger and brighter spots, and its bill is black above, while brown below. Lesser wingcoverts are fringed pale blue.

Tangara nigroviridis nigroviridis: Described by Lafresnaye in 1843; type locality is "Bogota".

Inhabits the east slope of the eastern Andes of Colombia and Ecuador. More greenish than cyanescens, otherwise as described above under Detailed Description.

Tangara nigroviridis berlepschi: Described by Taczanowski in 1884; the type locality is Tambillo.

Inhabits the Andes of eastern Peru to south northwestern Bolivia (La Paz and Cochabamba). Plumage is less greenish and more brass-colored than nominate nigroviridis.

Related Species

The Beryl-spangled Tanager is a member of the genus Tangara, the largest genus of Neotropical birds. Tangara is divided into 13 species groups based on vocalizations, diet, geographic distributions, behavior, and appearance (Isler and Isler 1987). Tangara nigroviridis was assigned by Isler and Isler (1987) to species group 11, with T. dowii (Spangle-cheeked Tanager)T. fucosa (Green-naped Tanager) and T. vassorii (Blue-and-black Tanager). Phylogenetic analyses of mtDNA sequence data have confirmed the monophyly of this group (Burns and Naoki 2004, Sedano and Burns 2010). The ancestor of this group likely occurred in the northern Andes (Sedano and Burns 2010). Within species group 11, Tangara nigroviridis is most closely related to the clade containing T. dowii and T. fucosa. The species T. nigroviridis contains four subspecies: T. n. cyanescens, T. n. nigroviridis, T. n. lozanoana, and T. n. berlepschi (Hilty 2011). Burns and Naoki (2004) included two individuals representing different subspecies in the phylogentic study, one from Peru and the other from Ecuador. Levels of sequence divergence (1.0% uncorrected sequence divergence) were typical of that expected among individuals of the same species.

Recommended Citation

Ruiz, D. R. and K. J. Burns (2012). Beryl-spangled Tanager (Tangara nigroviridis), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.