Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum



Geographic Variation

Four subspecies are recognized for T. palmarum (Isler and Isler 1987, Hilty 2011, Clements et al. 2013).

T. p. atripennis: Ranges from eastern Nicaragua to northern Colombia and extreme northwest Venezuela (Clements et al. 2013). This subspecies has a yellowish tinge that contrasts strongly with the hindneck. The body plumage is slightly paler and the wing is blacker. Occasionally a variant of T. p. atripennis has a strong violet tinge all over the entire body and wing coverts (Hilty 2011).

T. p. violilavata: Ranges from the Pacific slope of southwestern and western Ecuador (Clements et al. 2013). This subspecies is olive-gray to blue-gray with a violet tinge on the breast. The lesser wing coverts are glossed bluish and the greater coverts are a cerulean gray with an olive tinge. The flight feathers are slightly duller and less contrasting (Hilty 2011).

T. p. melanoptera: Ranges from eastern Colombia to northern Bolivia, the Guianas and Amazonian Brazil (Clements et al. 2013). This subspecies is the darkest. It is mainly a smoky grayish-olive with a brownish to yellow tinge. The forehead and crown are strongly tinged yellow and the upperwing-coverts are yellow olive (Hilty 2011).

T. p. palmarum: Ranges from eastern and southern Brazil to eastern Bolivia and Paraguay (Clements et al. 2013). This is the nominate subspecies. See Detailed Description for appearance.

Related Species

The Palm Tanager, Thraupis palmarum, is a member of the tanager family (Thraupidae) and belongs to a clade known as the “core tanagers” (subfamily Thraupinae) that includes 122 species and 22 genera, including Thraupis and Tangara (Burns et al. 2014). Within Thraupis, DNA sequence data shows that T. palmarum is the sister taxon to the Golden-chevroned Tanager, Thraupis ornata (Sedano and Burns 2010, Burns et al. 2014). The genus Thraupis contains eight extant species, seven of which have been sampled genetically (Sedano and Burns 2010, Burns et al. 2014). Thraupis glaucocolpa has not been sampled, and Thraupis cyanocephala is only distantly related to the other Thraupis species. The remaining Thraupis species, including the Palm Tanager, form a monophyletic group (Burns et al. 2014). However, this clade is deeply embedded in the genus Tangara; therefore, Burns et al. (2014) suggest that these species be included within Tangara.

Recommended Citation

Palm Tanager (Thraupis palmarum), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: