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Gray-headed Tanager Eucometis penicillata

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thraupidae
  • Polytypic: 7 subspecies
  • Authors: Carly S. Baker and Kevin J. Burns


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

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

Distribution in the Americas

The Gray-headed Tanager is found in the peninsular lowlands of southeastern Mexico south through Belize, northern and eastern Guatemala, northern Honduras, western and eastern Nicaragua (Howell and Webb 1995), the Pacific slope and the northwestern portion of the Caribbean slope of Costa Rica (Stiles and Skutch 1989), and both slopes in Panama (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989). Occurs in northwestern Colombia, including the Magdalena valley (Hilty and Brown 1986), and in northern Venezuela (Hilty 2003). East of the Andes, this tanager is widespread from eastern Colombia south to central Peru and east across central Amazonian Brazil. Also occurs from northern Bolivia east across south central Brazil to São Paulo, and south to Paraguay. Distribution in Peru of the Gray-headed Tanager. Solid circles: specimen records; open circles; sight records; dotted line: 1000 m contour (Schulenberg et al. 2006)The Gray-headed Tanager is absent from the Orinoco and upper Rio Negro drainages (Ridgely and Tudor 1989). This tanager is fairly common, but patchily distributed with its center of abundance in the lower tropical elevational zone (Stotz et al. 1996). It is found from lowlands to 1700 m, but mostly below 600 m (Isler and Isler 1999).

Distribution outside the Americas

Endemic to the Americas.


The Gray-headed Tanager is found is variety of forest types, including the undergrowth of tropical lowland evergreen forests, forest edge, open woodlands, second growth, swamp forests (varzea), scrub, and also cultivated lands near forest (Isler and Isler 1999). Habitat preferences vary geographically, with birds east of Andes primarily found in habitats associated with water; preferred habitats appear to be swampy thickets, such as Mauritia palm swamps and mangroves, and dense undergrowth of humid low-lying forest (Isler and Isler 1999, Restall et al. 2006). West of the Andes, the species is more widespread in both humid and dry habitats (Ridgely and Tudor 1989, Isler and Isler 1999).

Historical changes

None reported.

Fossil history

None reported.

Recommended Citation

Baker, C. S. and K. J. Burns (2010). Gray-headed Tanager (Eucometis penicillata), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.