03 July, 2010

Belize Bird of the Week #10 – Blue-grey Tanager (Thraupis episcopus)

Tanagers are new world birds that are found mainly in the tropics. The 240 or so species of tanager are medium sized birds and many of them are quite colorful. Tanagers are in the family Thraupidae, which is in the midst of reorganization as scientists learn more about their genetics. In North America, the scarlet tanager is the most common, but the scarlet tanager is now thought to belong to the cardinal family.

The blue-grey tanager is fairly common throughout its large range from southern Mexico, through Central America and into the northern part of South America. They eat fruit, insects, and nectar. You can see it eating the cercropia fruit in one of the photos below. Blue-grey tanagers are friendly and confiding. Like the great kiskadee I wrote about a few weeks ago, blue-grey tanagers often live around human habitation.

All of the photos in the collage below are of one bird as it was hopping around in a Cercropia tree near our cabana. It is a very pretty bird with the blue above and grey below, but the large cercropia leaves shaded the splendor of the blue. I am anxious to get back to Belize to photograph it in more flattering light.


  1. Wow what a beautiful bird Wilma and nice pictures you got!! This is a very colorful bird!

  2. Very unusual colouring Wilma, the bird like pastel drawing.

  3. Such beautiful birds you are showing us Wilma.
    I need to travel more lol

  4. Chris -- it is a nice, soft blue.

    Roy -- part of the reason it looks like a pastel drawing is because I had the ISO set on 1600 and then also enlarged it quite a bit so it looks very grainy. ;-)

    Keith -- I do love to travel, but virtual travel is great fun too. Not mention cheaper and less stressful!

    Thanks all for visiting and commenting.



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