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Emerald Tanager Tangara florida

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thraupidae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors: Bertrand Clark Austin and Kevin J. Burns

Diet and Foraging


The Emerald Tanager is an omnivore; however, the majority of its diet is comprised of fruit (71% of 468 observations in Valle, Colombia; Hilty, cited in Isler and Isler 1987). However, in Costa Rica Naoki (2003) observed a difference in preference between breeding season (54% fruit and 46% arthropods; n = 89) versus the non-breeding season (81% fruit and 19% arthropods; n = 161). The Hilty data (cited in Isler and Isler 1987) record over 29 species of plants in the diet of the Emerald Tanager, with fruits of Miconia, Cercopia, Ilex, and Topobea representing 66, 10, 7, and 1% of their diet, respectively (Isler and Isler 1987). Naoki (2003) shows fruits of seven genera are taken during the nonbreeding season, including Miconia (83%), Ficus (6%), and Cecropia (4%). During the breeding season, the main fruits recorded belonged to these genera: Coussapoa (52%), Miconia (17%), and Tetrochidium (6%).  In addition, species in seven other genera were eaten.  In Valle, Colombia the Emerald Tanager habitually hunted insects within moss in the crowns of trees, and was observed once associated with a swarm of army ants (Hilty 1974, Isler and Isler 1987).  Other prey items include flowers and flower buds (Hilty cited in Isler and Isler 1987, Restall et al. 2007), and arachnids (Stiles and Skutch 1989).

Foraging Behavior

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Recommended Citation

Austin, B. C. and K. J. Burns (2011). Emerald Tanager (Tangara florida), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.