White-rumped Tanager Cypsnagra hirundinacea

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thraupidae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors: Ashley True and Kevin J. Burns



Locomotion: White-rumped Tanagers spend a large amount of their time being vigilant, perched on top of trees while members of their group forage (Ragusa-Netto 2002).

Foraging: White-rumped Tanagers forage from the understory to the canopy (Parker et al. 1996).  Ragusa-Netto (1997) found them to forage at low heights (0.5-3.5 m). When they forage on bark, they use a wide range of trunks and branches between 0.5-15 cm high (Ragusa-Netto 1997). They inspect leaves and bark closely, and spend a great deal of time searching for food in a single tree (Ragusa-Netto 1997).

Self-maintenance: No information.


The perching behavior of White-rumped Tanagers is more related to vigilance than territorial behavior (Ragusa-Netto 2002). When breeding, the territory size is ca 5 ha (Isler and Isler, 1999).

Sexual Behavior

Little information. The White-rumped Tanager is a cooperative breeder; see Reproduction.

Social and interspecific behavior

The White-rumped Tanager typically occurs in groups of 3-6 individuals (Isler and Isler 1999), even when breeding (see Reproduction). At a site in Brazil, Ragusa-Netto (2000) observed an average group size of 4.8 ± 1.5 White-rumped Tanagers in 30 mixed-species flocks encountered. They are common in mixed flocks that inhabit the open cerrado where they act as sentinels for the group by giving alarm calls when predators are detected  (Ragusa-Netto 2000, 2002).


Because the White-rumped Tanager inhabits open areas, they are susceptible to predation by raptors. To avoid predation, they are found in mixed flocks and take turns being vigilant (Ragusa-Neto 2000, 2002). At one study site, Aplomado Falcons (Falco femoralis) and American Kestrels (Falco sparverius) were the most frequently encountered raptors (26.5% and 25.0%, respectively) that induced alarm calls in mixed flocks that included this species (Ragussa-Netto 2002).

Recommended Citation

True, A. and K. J. Burns (2010). White-rumped Tanager (Cypsnagra hirundinacea), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.whrtan1.01