Outlying ridges of the eastern Andes Mountains support numerous unique taxa by virtue of their isolation and habitat diversity. Because of the remoteness and rugged topography of these ridges, however, many remained unexplored by ornithologists until very recently. The Cerros del Sira of central Peru were first explored in 1969 and 1971 when John Terborgh and John Weske conducted intensive surveys in the northern part of the range (Terborgh and Weske 1975, Terborgh 1985). Sira Tanager was discovered in July of 1969 on their first expedition (Graves and Weske 1987), and has been subsequently found in the same area by other investigators (Mee et al. 2002, Socolar et al. 2013). The southern Cerros del Sira were not explored by ornithologists until 2008, when Michael G. Harvey, Benjamin M. Winger, Glenn F. Seeholzer, and Daniel Cáceres Apaza conducted the first inventory (Harvey et al. 2011). They found Sira Tanager on this trip, and it has been subsequently observed in the area (David Geale, pers. comm.; Raoul Beunen, pers. comm.). The Sira Tanager is presently known only from these two localities, and it is likely confined entirely to the Cerros del Sira.
The Sira Tanager is a brightly-colored, sexually dimorphic tanager distinguished from other members of the genus Tangara largely by plumage details. It is restricted to high-elevation cloud and elfin forests. Little is known of the life history of Sira Tanager, although like many congeners it frequently associates with mixed-species canopy flocks. Conservation concern for the Sira Tanager stems largely from the very restricted range of the species.