Magpie Tanager Cissopis leverianus

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thraupidae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors: Marguerite C. Threlkeld and Kevin J. Burns

A large, long-tailed black-and-white tanager with striking yellow irides, Magpie Tanager is widely distributed across much of lowland South America, entirely east of the Andes. The sole member of the genus Cissopis, its size and plumage, and behavior, are all somewhat jay-like. The entire hood down to the upper breast is glossy black, while the wings and tail are largely black with white fringes to the coverts and tertials, and white tips to the rectrices; the rest of the bird’s plumage is clean white. This tanager generally consorts in pairs or small groups, although these only occasionally seem to join larger mixed-species flocks, and it is usually observed at forest borders or in clearings. Magpie Tanager often perches conspicuously in the open, and will even visit bird tables to feed on fruit.


© Curtis Marantz

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Threlkeld, M. C. and K. J. Burns (2013). Magpie Tanager (Cissopis leverianus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.