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White-rumped Tanager Cypsnagra hirundinacea

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


Geographic Variation

Two subspecies are recognized, C. h. pallidigula and C. h. hirundinacea (Storer 1970).

C. h. pallidigula: This subspecies is distinct because its underparts are paler. The throat is "warm buff to ochraceous buff instead of deep tawny to chestnut-rufous [as in nominate hirundinacea]" (Hellmayr 1936: 366), and the breast and belly are whiter, with less ochraceous tones.  Also has a pale loral streak, which nominate hirundinacea lacks (Isler and Isler 1999), and the rump is white instead of cream-colored (Hellmayr 1936: 366). This subspecies is distributed north of the Amazon River (within the Sipaliwini savanna), in Suriname and Amapá, Brazil; and south of the Amazon River from northeastern Brazil in Ceará, Piauí and northern Bahia southwest across central Maranhão, northern Goiás, southeastern Pará, and northwestern Mato Grosso, Brazil, to northeastern Bolivia (Storer 1970, Isler and Isler 1999). There is a seemingly isolated population along the Rio Madeira in south central Amazonas, Brazil.

C. h. hirundinacea: Unlike the northern subspecies, C. h. hirundinacea has an amber chin and throat that contrasts with cinnamon-colored underparts. It also lacks the loral streak of the pallidigula (Isler and Isler 1999). The nominate subspecies is found in southern Bahia, Brazil, south toward São Paulo, west through southern Goiás, and southern Mato Grosso, Brazil; also in north central Paraguay (Concepción) to eastern Bolivia (Santa Cruz; Storer 1970, Isler and Isler 1999).

Related Species

The White-rumped Tanager is the sole member of the genus Cypsnagra.  Traditionally, it has been placed near other tanagers with predominantly melanin-based plumage, such as species in the genera Orchesticus, Schistochlamys, Neothraupis, and Conothraupis (e.g., Storer 1970).  However, Storer (1960) considered its taxonomic position undetermined. Phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data from multiple genes indicates that the White-rumped Tanager is part of a large clade of tanagers that includes species in the genera Hemispingus, Cnemoscopus, Pyrrhocoma, Thlypopsis, Poospiza, and Nephelornis (Burns 1997, Lougheed et al. 2000, Burns et al. 2003). Additional, unpublished sequence data indicate that species in the genera Donacospiza and Urothraupis belong to this clade as well (K. J. Burns, unpublished data). In contrast to  the White-rumped Tanager, which has a lowland distribution, most other species in this clade live at high elevations in the Andes.

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.