Silver-throated Tanager Tangara icterocephala

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thraupidae
  • Polytypic: 3 subspecies
  • Authors: Ashley Lane-Roberts and Kevin J. Burns

Diet and Foraging


Main food taken: The Silver-throated Tanager is considered an omnivore with its diet consisting of 87.1% fruit and 12.9% arthropods during the non-mating season (Naoki 2003). Foraging of arthropods increases in the mating season to 32%. In Valle, Colombia it was observed eating over 32 species of fruit and favored melastome fruits (55% of all fruit eaten), especially Miconia berries (88% of all melastomes). They also eat insects in the outer part of the trees, specifically, on the undersides of thin moss-covered branches 1.3 cm or less in diameter. In Costa Rica they were observed eating melastomes fruits and fruits from the epiphytic vine, Souroubea guianensis (Isler and Isler 1987). In Ecuador, arthropod foraging was focused on partially moss-covered branches (about 60% of the time) and on heavily moss-covered branches (about 35% of the time) (Naoki 2003). In Valle, Colombia: Foraged mostly in trees and shrub crowns of various heights (78% of 523 obs.). Median forage height was 8.5 m above the ground (706 obs.); rarely foraged below 3 m. In Costa Rica, they forage closer to the ground (Isler and Isler 1987).
Food capture and consumption: Silver-throated Tanagers forage in the forest canopy (Stotz et al. 1996). In Valle Colombia, they were seen most often perched on twigs or branches to eat small fruit. They would perch on, hang upside down from, or cling to petioles, leaves, or catkins to nibble fruit (21% of all fruit eaten). They rarely cling to larger fruits or berries to peck out pieces, snatch a berry in flight, or eat a flower bud. While foraging for insects, they hopped quickly from branch to branch, but once on a branch, they moved in spurts along a branch searching for small insects (Isler and Isler 1987).

Metabolism and temperature regulation: When the average ambient temperature was 17.7 degrees Celsius, the average cloacal temp=41.6 (n=22) (Oniki 1972).

Foraging Behavior

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Recommended Citation

Lane-Roberts, A. and K. J. Burns (2010). Silver-throated Tanager (Tangara icterocephala), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.