Saffron-crowned Tanager Tangara xanthocephala

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thraupidae
  • Polytypic: 3 subspecies
  • Authors: Robert Iddings and Kevin J. Burns

Saffron-crowned Tanager (Tangara xanthocephala) is a brightly colored tanager with a distinctive yellow head. This species occurs through the Andes from Venezuela south to Bolivia, and occupies humid montane forests and secondary woodlands. Due to human destruction of habitat, it is hypothesized that the population numbers are decreasing; however an accurate estimate of the population size is unavailable. Relative to other species, the IUCN classifies the conservation status of Saffron-crowned Tanager as Least Concern. Saffron-crowned Tanager is one of the many Andean representatives of the diverse and brightly-colored genus Tangara. Bright yellow on the crown and face, opalescent-blue body plumage, and black streaking on the upperparts characterize this species. Like most Tangara tanagers, the Saffron-crowned is sexually monomorphic. Small groups, possibly families, join mixed flocks traveling through the cloud forest canopy. These mixed flocks typically contain several other species of Tangara, although the specific species may vary with locality. Saffron-crowned Tanagers generally concentrate search for small invertebrates along smaller branches and limbs, with a distinctive “head down” posture when foraging for insects, and also eat fruit.


© Andrew Spencer

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

Recommended Citation

Iddings, R. and K. J. Burns (2012). Saffron-crowned Tanager (Tangara xanthocephala), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.