Brassy-breasted Tanager Tangara desmaresti

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thraupidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Megan Morris and Kevin J. Burns


Geographic Variation

Monotypic (Storer 1970).

Related Species

The Brassy-breasted Tanager belongs to the genus Tangara, the largest genus of Neotropical birds. Tangara has been divided into 13 species groups based on vocalizations, diet, geographic distributions, behavior, and appearance (Isler and Isler 1987). The Brassy-breasted Tanager is one of three species included in species group 4, along with the Red-necked (Tangara cyanocephala) and Gilt-edged (Tangara cyanoventris) tanagers. These species all occur in eastern Brazil. Isler and Isler (1987) suggested that these three species may be closely related to members of species group 3 (Paradise Tanager T. chilensis, Seven-colored Tanager T. fastuosa, and Green-headed Tanager T. seledon). In general, phylogenetic analyses of DNA sequence data agree with these suggestions (Naoki and Burns 2004, Sedano and Burns 2010). With the exception of T. chilensis, all of these species form a strongly supported monophyletic group. Among these species, the Brassy-breasted Tanager and Gilt-edged Tanager are most closely related and have hydridized (Isler and Isler 1987). All five species in this clade (T. cyanocephala, T. cyanoventris, T. desmaresti, T. fastuosa, and T. seledon) occur in the Atlantic Forest zoogeographic region of eastern Brazil. These species likely descended from a species that dispersed from the Northern Andes to the Atlantic Forest (Sedano and Burns 2010). Thus, phylogenetic and biogeographic evidence suggest that these species resulted from diversification events within the Atlantic Forest region and not from repeated colonizations of this area.

Recommended Citation

Morris, M. and K. J. Burns (2012). Brassy-breasted Tanager (Tangara desmaresti), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.