Paradise Tanager Tangara chilensis

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thraupidae
  • Polytypic: 4 subspecies
  • Authors: Nikki L. Berneberg and Kevin J. Burns


Breeding of the Paradise Tanager occurs in the months of June through late August in Peru (Wood et al. 1992).

Nest Building: 
Nests are placed in the canopy and are cup-shaped (Isler and Isler 1987). Wood et al. (1992) observed a nest made in a fork of a leafy branch about 31 m above the ground at the top, outer edge of the tree (Ceiba pentandra). Nesting material  consisted of predominately bright green staghorn lichen-like moss, along with white fungus similar to Rhizomorpha corynephora, with small portions of dandelion seeds, spider webs, and straw-like grass (Wood et al. 1992). Female Paradise Tanagers are predominantly responsible for nest building, while males accompany the female when she is gathering nesting materials, or sing or call nearby the nesting site while the female builds the nest (Wood et al. 1992, Skutch 1989). Some cases have been reported of both the males and females building the nest together (Ruschi 1979).

Clutch size is usually of 2-4 eggs (Hilty 2003). Eggs observed from Brazil are greenish-white and heavily spotted brown and black (Ruschi 1979).

Incubation Period: 
Individual incubation sessions for Paradise Tanagers vary from 15 to 55 minutes (Wood et al. 1992). Typically the incubation range of Paradise Tanagers is between 13-17 days (Rushi 1979, Isler and Isler 1987, Skutch 1989, Wood et al. 1992). As the sexes are similar, it is impossible to tell whether both sexes participate in the incubation of the egg (Wood et al. 1992), however, typically in the genus Tangara, females are responsible for incubation (Isler and Isler 1987).

Feeding Behavior of Young: 
Once young have hatched, parental Paradise Tanagers feed young spiders, orthopterans and caterpillars (Wood et al. 1992).  At the Tambopata Reserve, adult Paradise Tanagers made approximately 3 ½ trips back and forth to the nest carrying food in a 5 hour period (Wood et al. 1992). Usually after feeding the young, one bird would sit on the nest for about 40-60 minutes, then both parents would leave again together to forage for more food (Wood et al. 1992).

Recommended Citation

Berneberg, N. L. and K. J. Burns (2011). Paradise Tanager (Tangara chilensis), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.