Multicolored Tanager Chlorochrysa nitidissima



Reported signs of breeding in the Multicolored Tanagers are from November-January and from April-May, which coincide with the Colombian rainy season and suggest that breeding may be more common at the start and end of this season. A female with an active brood patch was recorded in Quindío on 10 May, though adult females collected on 4 November and 13 December did not (Miller 1963). A male collected on 4 July had enlarged testis (6 mm), with four males caught on 9 September, two on 13 December, and one on 18 December with testes ranging from 2-4 mm (Miller 1963). This species is often reported as occurring as a pair, but we have been unable to locate any information on the mating system or extra-pair copulations. Three nests have been described in detail from three different protected areas (Loaiza-Muñoz et al. 2017): Reserva Forestal Bosque de Yotoco (RFBY), Reserva Forestal Río Bitaco sector Chicoral (RFRBC), Parque Nacional Natural Farallones (PNNF). The clutch-size is consistently one and the nestling period is about 24 days (Table 2). Measurement of nest size (Table 3) and weight and composition (Table 4) are reported below. Of the three nests, one was inside the dome nest of a Yellow-olive Flycatcher (Tolmomyias sulphurescens), and another was a refurbished old roosting dome nest of a Gray-breasted Wood-Wren (Henicorhina leucophrys); these nests are from RFBY and PNNF respectively. The eggs are oval with scatter brown spots that cluster as a ring on the large end of the egg (Loaiza-Muñoz et al. 2017). Egg measurements are reported below (Table 5). Adults are cautious about approaching nests (Loaiza-Muñoz et al. 2017). At day 2 nestlings are pink-yellowish with light gray down and the legs, bill, and gape yellowish; at day 7 pin-feathers appear; and by day 11 feathers have broken their sheaths (Loaiza-Muñoz et al. 2017). On the day before fledgling nestlings do not resemble adults, with a yellow bill and legs, gray-green throat, olive-green feather throughout the body with the exception of a light yellow belly, and the wings black (Loaiza-Muñoz et al. 2017). Only females have been observed feeding nestlings (n=5), bringing Cecropia fruit and insect larvae (Loaiza-Muñoz et al. 2017). A stub-tailed fledgling was observed with two adults on 1 November in the West Andes above Cali, as was a juvenile on 8 January (Hilty and Brown 1986). An immature male was reported from Siató, Rio Siató on 16 September 1909, and an immature female from Pueblo Rico on 9 Septemeber 1909 (Hellmayr 1911). Adults have been seen feeding recent fledglings melastome fruits (Kessler-Ríos and Kattan 2011).

Table 2. Nesting Period of the Multicolored Tanager (Loaiza-Muñoz et al. 2017).
Locality Date Found Egg/Nestling Count Hatch Date Fledge Date Nestling Period
RFBY 22 April 2012 1 30 April 23 May 24
RFRBC 19 March 2015 unkown unknown ~24 March unknown
PNNF 15 May 2015 1 ~16 May 8 June ~24
Table 3. Nest measurements (Loaiza-Muñoz et al. 2017).
Locality Inner Length
Inner Width
Inner Depth
Wall Thickness
Outer Length
Outer Width
Outer Depth
Height Above
Ground (m)
RFBY - - - - 180 64 300 3
RFRBC 73.0 51.9 19.0 17.3 117.5 80.5 39.0 6.2
PNNF 57.9 53.5 40.0 17.8 82.1 62.5 44.7 2.1
Table 4. Nest Mass and Composition (Loaiza-Muñoz et al. 2017).
Locality Mass (g) Outer Layer Mass (g) Outer Layer Composition Inner Layer Mass (g) Inner Layer Composition
RFBY 6.6 5.9 thin roots and dry leaves 0.7 thin grass fibers and leaves
RFRBC 9.7 - dry bamboo leaves - thin plant fibers and bamboo
(Chusque sp.) leaves
PNNF - - dry grass - bamboo fibers
Table 5. Fresh Egg Measurements (Loaiza-Muñoz et al. 2017).
Locality Length (mm) Width (mm) Mass (g)
RFBY 21.5 15.0 2.5
PNNF 21.4 15.0 2.1

Recommended Citation

Multicolored Tanager (Chlorochrysa nitidissima), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: