Silver-throated Tanager Tangara icterocephala

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


Geographic Variation

Three subspecies usually are recognized:

T. i. frantzii- The crown and nape are bright yellow; the indistinct (partially concealed) band across the nape is pale greenish blue. The foreneck and throat is paler than the other two subspecies (Wetmore et al. 1984). Costa Rica and western Panama (east to eastern Veraguas).

T. i. oresbia- This has the darkest coloration of the three subspecies. There is a greenish-blue band on the neck and the foreneck and throat are darker than the others. Females have dark green edging on the back feather rather than the yellow seen in the other two subspecies (Wetmore et al. 1984). Central Panama (provinces of Coclé and Panamá).

T. i. icterocephala- This subspecies is most similar to T. i. frantzii in coloration, but it is a duller yellow. The band across the nape is a deeper blue and the foreneck and throat are slightly darker than T. i. frantzii (Wetmore et al. 1984). Eastern Panama (eastern Darién) south to extreme northwestern Peru (Tumbes).

Related Species

The Silver-throated Tanager is a member of the largest Neotropical bird genus, the genus Tangara. Isler and Isler (1999) divided Tangara into 13 species groups, based in assessments across the genus of distributions, appearance, behavior (with particular reliance on foraging behaviors), vocalizations, and diet. They included Tangara icterocephala in an assemblage of eight species that they designated as Species Group 5. Most of the members of this group forage for insects by searching underneath mossy branches, using a diagonal-lean foraging method. Molecular sequence data confirm the monophyly of Isler and Isler's Species Group 5, and the placement within it of the Silver-throated Tanager (Burns and Naoki 2004, Sedano and Burns in press). Within group 5, the Silver-throated Tanager is in a clade with the Golden Tanager (Tangara arthus) and the Emerald Tanager (Tangara florida), with the Emerald Tanager being the sister species to Silver-throated.

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.