Opal-rumped Tanager Tangara velia

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thraupidae
  • Polytypic: 4 subspecies
  • Authors: Evan Lerman and Kevin J. Burns



Foraging: Opal-rumped Tanagers forage mainly in the upper canopy, around the crowns of trees as pairs or in mixed-species flocks. They often search the outer, thinner branches of trees for fruit and berries and through epiphytes for edible vegetation and insects. Rarely, they descend down to shrubs and the subcanopy of the forest edge to forage (Hilty 2003).

Similar to other Tangara species, T. velia has been observed displaying specific foraging behavior for arthropods and insects; they methodically search the underside of thinner branches by hopping around and periodically looking at the underside (peering down), a technique called the “Diagonal-lean method” (Isler and Isler 1987).

Self-maintenance: T. velia has been observed bathing in the accumulated water stored in larger bromeliads (Hilty 2003).

Social and interspecific behavior

Opal-rumped Tanagers have variable social behavior; they may travel or forage alone, in pairs or in larger mixed-species flocks that preside in the canopy (up to 15 individuals) (Isler and Isler 1987, Restall et al. 2007). Its sister species, Opal-crowned Tanager (Tangara callophrys), may occur with T. velia in mixed species flocks (Restall et al. 2007).

Recommended Citation

Lerman, E. and K. J. Burns (2012). Opal-rumped Tanager (Tangara velia), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.oprtan1.01