“For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.” (Psalms 71:5 KJV)
While watching this video of the Blue-gray Tanager youngster, my thoughts went to those of you who have teenagers. Many tell me that they, the teenagers, are difficult to fill up. Enjoy the video knowing that you are not alone in God’s Creation. Even the birds have to deal with filling up their offspring. :0)
Blue-gray Tanagers (Thraupis episcopus) are members of the Thraupidae Family. The tanager is a medium-sized South American songbird whose song is a squeaky twittering, interspersed with tseee and tsuup call notes. Its range is from Mexico south to northeast Bolivia and northern Brazil, all of the Amazon Basin, except the very south. It has been introduced to Lima (Peru). On Trinidad and Tobago, this bird is called blue jean.
The Blue-gray Tanager is 16–18 cm (6.3–7.1 in) long and weighs 30–40 g (1.1–1.4 oz). Adults have a light bluish head and underparts, with darker blue upperparts and a shoulder patch colored a different hue of blue. The bill is short and quite thick. Sexes are similar, but the immature is much duller in plumage.
The breeding habitat is open woodland, cultivated areas and gardens. The Blue-gray Tanager lives mainly on fruit, but will also take some nectar and insects. This is a common, restless, noisy and confiding species, usually found in pairs, but sometimes small groups. It thrives around human habitation, and will take some cultivated fruit like papayas (Carica papaya).
(Information from Wikipedia)
Blue-gray Tanager (Thraupis episcopus) by Raymond Barlow
“O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works.” (Psalms 71:17 KJV)
Saffron Finch – Male at Zoo Miami by Dan (Cropped by Lee)
“…covered with silver, and her (his) feathers with yellow gold.” (Psalms 68:13b KJV) (modified)
Dan and I took a ride down to Miami last week. A 200 mile ride. We stayed two nights before heading back home via Flamingo Gardens in Davie, Florida. We really have not been birdwatching too much lately, so this makes up for a very hot summer and health reasons. Monday and Tuesday we spent at Zoo Miami. On Monday, because we didn’t get there until 2 PM, we visited their Cloud Forrest and Amazon and Beyond Area. We spent all day Tuesday in the fantastic Wings of Asia Aviary. So, let the tales begin:
Saffron Finch (Sicalis flaveola) by Lee
I want to introduce you to the Saffron Finch (Sicalis flaveola). They are actually Tanagers from the Amazon Basin of South America. The Saffron Finch likes the open and semi-open lowlands and are widely distributed in “Columbia, northern Venezuela (where it is called “canario de tejado” or “roof canary”), western Ecuador, western Peru, eastern and southern Brazil (where it is called “canário da terra” or “native canary”), Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, northern Argentina, and Trinidad and Tobago. It has also been introduced to Hawaii, Puerto Rico and elsewhere.”
Saffron Finch Zoo Miami by Dan
“Although commonly regarded as a canary, it is not related to the Atlantic canary. Formerly, it was placed in the Emberizidae but it is close to the seedeaters. The male is bright yellow with an orange crown which distinguishes it from most other yellow finches (the exception being the orange-fronted yellow finch). The females are more confusing and are usually just a slightly duller version of the male, but in the southern subspecies S. f. pelzelni they are olive-brown with heavy dark streaks.”
Saffron Finch Zoo Miami by Dan
“Typically nesting in cavities, the saffron finch makes use of sites such as abandoned rufous hornero (Furnarius rufus) nests, bamboo branches and under house roofs – this species is tolerant of human proximity, appearing at suburban areas and frequenting bird tables. They have a pleasant but repetitious song which, combined with their appearance, has led to them being kept as caged birds in many areas.” (quotes are from Wikipedia’s Saffron Finch)
The Saffron Finch is also known as the Yellow Finch and Pelzeln’s Finch.
It was first described by Carolus Linnaeus in 1766.
A group of finches has many collective nouns, including a “charm”, “company”, and “trembling” of finches.
Here is some video that I shot of this beauty. I tried to catch him in the trees and that is a challenge, as any birdwatcher knows. But then, to my surprise, he just decided that he needed a bath. Wow!
We have lots of photos from the trip, so stay tuned!
“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalms 51:7)
We have arrived at the last the Thraupidae family of Tanagers and close family relatives. We begin with the Cuban Bullfinch (Melopyrrha nigra) is a songbird species of the monotypic genus Melopyrrha. Sometimes classified in the bunting and American sparrow family (Emberizidae), more recent studies have shown it to be part of the tanager family (Thraupidae). Therein, it belongs to the lineage of tholospizan “finches”, which also includes the famous Darwin’s finches. They are found in the Cayman Islands, there only on Grand Cayman, and Cuba. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical moist montane forests, and heavily degraded former forest.
The next two genera, Dolospingus, found in Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, and Catamenia also from South America, are Seedeaters.
Yellow-faced Grassquit (Tiaris olivaceus) by Kent Nickell
Six Grassquits, from Tiaris and Loxipasser genera are from Central and South America. The Yellow-faced Grassquits are interesting because “During courtship, the male vibrates his wings as he sings his subdued song, sitting only 1–2 in (2.5–5.1 cm) away so the female can properly hear him. The roughly globular nest, built by the female, is made of grass and weed stems compacted into a thick mass, and lined with pieces of grass inflorescences and bast fibre. It has a side entrance and is placed usually less than 30 cm (12 in) above the ground, often among grass or weeds on a road or river embankment.” (Wikipedia) Grassquits are known for making covered nests.
Most of the rest of the family are similar in that just a few birds are in each genus. The the Bullfinches, Loxigilla; Ground Finches, Geospiza; Cactus Finches, Geospiza; Tree Finches, Camarhynchus; Warbler-Finches, Certhidea; and then five Tanagers in three genera.
There are four “Spindalis is a genus consisting of four non-migratory bird species. The genus is considered endemic to the Greater Antilles; a population on Cozumel Island, off the Yucatán Peninsula’s east coast, is part of that island’s West Indian fauna. Spindalis males are characterized by bright plumage while females are duller and have a different coloration. (Wikipedia) As usual, this helps hide her while sitting on the nest. Also shows the Lord’s concern for all of His Creation.
The next to last bird in the Thraupidae Family is an very interesting bird and I’ll let Wikipedia give the details. “The plushcap is one of the most distinctive of all Neotropical passerines in terms of both its appearance and behavior. The plushcap (Catamblyrhynchus diadema) was in its own family until recently when it was grouped with the tanagers. It is very distinct both physically and in terms of behavior. The bill is broad and black. The body is a chestnut color with a bright golden-yellow forecrown. The forecrown is made up of stiff feathers. It has been speculated that these short, dense feathers are less susceptible to feather wear and more resistant to moisture than typical feathers. This may be an adaptation for its specialized feeding mode [sounds like Wisdom from their Creator], in which it probes into dense whorls of bamboo for its prey items (Hilty et al. 1979). Juveniles are just duller versions of their parents. They are found at high elevations from northern Venezuela south to Argentina, including the coastal mountains of Venezuela and the Andes of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and extreme northwestern Argentina. They live in montane forests and secondary forests near bamboo. They forage for insects inside the bamboo. They will eat small insects, berries, and small plant matter. The overall length averages 14 cm (5.5 in) and weigh averages 14.1 grams (0.5 oz).”
“The bird is very distinct and is not confused with many other birds. It stands out from the other tanagers, only possibly being confused with the golden-crowned tanager despite the golden-crowned tanager being blue. The species is found in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. Its natural habitat is humid montane forests and it is always found in close association with Chusquea bamboo. It is typically found at an elevation 1,800 to 3,500 m.”
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24 KJV)
Saffron Finch (Sicalis flaveola) by Dan at National Aviary
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (Ephesians 2:4-5 KJV)
Below the slideshow Angel Long is singing my most favorite hymn. “And Can It Be” How could the Lord Jesus Christ Love us so much that He died for us? Enjoy listening to her sing my favorite as Sean Fielder accompanies. Both are members of our church, Faith Baptist.
Sicalis. sometimes classified in the bunting and American sparrow family Emberizidae, more recent studies have shown it to belong in the Thraupidae.
The Sicalis genus is composed of 11 Yellow Finches, the Saffron Finch and the Sulphur-throated Finch. Sometimes classified in the bunting and American sparrow family Emberizidae, more recent studies have shown it to belong in the Thraupidae.
Wedge-tailed Grass Finch (Emberizoides herbicola) by Dario Sanches
The Emberizoides and Embermagra have 5 species. Emberizoides is a small genus of finch-like tanagers found in grassy areas in Central and South America.
Blue-black Grassquit (Volatinia jacarina) by Ian
A single member Volatinia genus has the Blue-black Grassquit. It breeds from southern Mexico through Central America, and South America as far as northern Chile, Argentina and Paraguay, and on Trinidad and Tobago.
White-collared Seedeater (Sporophila torqueola) male by Kent Nickell
The Sporophila is a large genus that has 33 avian wonders. They are relatively small with stubby, conical bills adapted for feeding on seeds and alike. Most species are strongly sexually dimorphic, and while “typical” adult males often are distinctive, female and immatures of both sexes can be very difficult (in some species virtually impossible) to identify to exact species. Females of at least some of these species have different ultraviolet colours, which can be seen by birds, but not humans.
Next we have the Oryzoborus Seed Finches that are 6 strong. These are all Seed Finches. Their beaks have the cone shape that allows them to break open seeds easily. Another of their Creator’s forethought to provide for them. (Information on species from Wikipedia)
With these, we will leave the last group of birds from this large Thraudidae Family until next Sunday. That will wrap up this long series of this family of beautiful avian wonders. Until next week, Lord willing when we finish, His blessings.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13 KJV)
“And Can It Be” – Sung by Angel Long and acc. Sean Fielder*
The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing. (Isaiah 14:7 KJV)
Trust you are enjoying seeing the avian beauties from this huge Thraupidae-Tanagers and Allies family (375). This is the seventh article from this family and this won’t be the last. Counting today’s group, there are 152 left to show you. It will most likely take this one and two more. The desire, of these Passerine Sunday Inspirations, is to let you SEE these fantastically created birds from the Lord. Unless you want me to play a symphony and put all 150+ birds in one slideshow, we will continue to give you “song sized” slideshows. With photos that allow permission to be used, so far, you’ve seen most of the species in the families.
First is a group of genera with only one or two species each.
“The Inca finches (Incaspiza) are a genus of finch-like birds traditionally placed in the Emberizidae family, but it may be more closely related to the Thraupidae. Its current family status is incertae sedis. Both their scientific and common name refer to the Incan civilization. They are endemic to arid scrub in central and northern Peru. Buff-bridled, gray-winged and little Inca finches are restricted to the Marañón Valley. The rufous-backed Inca finch occurs either on the west slope of the Andes and both slopes of the Marañón Valley and is restricted to higher elevations, compared to great Inca finch which only occurs on the west slope of the Andes, but generally lower than the rufous-backed Inca finch. They are rather terrestrial, and typically forage within dense plant growth on the ground, but commonly perch higher, for example on the top of a tall cactus or in a small tree, when singing. They are typically seen singly or in pairs, but sometimes in small groups outside the breeding season. They normally do not take part in mixed-species flocks.” The problem is there are very few photos available for the six species in this genus.” (Wikipedia)
“Poospizais a genus of finch-like tanagers found in both the South American lowlands and the Andes mountains. Generally they are arboreal feeders in light woodland and scrub. All have extensive grey to their plumage, and have—often bold—white or rufous markings.” (Wikipedia)
Compsospizais a genus of South American birds known as mountain finches (a name shared with several other species such as Poospiza caesar and Leucosticte). The two species were previously included in the genus Poospiza, but in 2009 the South American Classification Committee unanimously agreed to resurrect Compsospiza based on plumage, ecology, morphology and genetic evidence. They are restricted to shrubby woodland in the Andes of Bolivia and Argentina, and both have a grey and rufous plumage.
The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing. (Isaiah 14:7 KJV)
“Quiet Rest” and “Sweet Hour of Prayer” ~ by Kathy Lisby – Nell Reese acc. on piano.
Continuing through the Tanagers of the Thraupidae, we have some more beautiful birds to let you enjoy. Our Lord must have loved creating this kind of bird. He sure created enough of them through their interbreeding. We are about half way through the Traupidae family. This is the fifth installment. Not sure how many more it will take to finish up this family. Trust you are enjoying them.
The Dacnis genus are from the Columbia and other nearby countries in South America. Some I could not find photos of that gave permission to use, so enjoy the ones that could be shown. The most common Dacnis seems to be the Blue Dacnis. Typical of this genus, they “occur in forests and other woodlands, including gardens and parks. The bulky cup nest is built in a tree and the normal clutch is of two to three grey-blotched whitish eggs. The female incubates the eggs, but is fed by the male. These are social birds which eat mainly insects gleaned from foliage, flowers or bromeliads. Fruit is often taken and usually swallowed whole, but nectar is rarely consumed.” (Wikipedia) There is one more Dacnis that is in the Xenodacnis genus.
The next three genera, Cyanerpes, Chlorophanes, and Iridophanes are Honeycreepers. They have longer tails than the Dacnis and you will notice a little more down curve on their bills. The four Cyanerpes species have colourful legs, long wings and a short tail. The males are typically glossy purple-blue and the females greenish.
“Yellow-rumped” clade of Tanagers include the Heerospingus, Chrysothlpis, and Hemithraupis genera. These small to medium tanagers are found in the moist forests of Central and South America. The females are duller than the males.
The Conebills from the Conirostrum genus, finish our group of beautiful birds from the Tanager Family for this week. “They are small tanagers (9–14 cm) found in the forests of South America. They feed in pairs or small flocks by gleaning insects from foliage.” Following these here is a Giant Conebill (Oreomanes fraseri) in its own genus.
“The genus consists of two rather distinct subgenera: The first, Ateleodacnis, possibly deserving full generic status, is confined to lowland areas. They are mostly grey in colour and inhabit deciduous woodlands, mangroves or riverbank habitats. The second group, the nominate Conirostrum subgenus, inhabits the forests of the Andes. They are somewhat more colourful combining grey or blue backs with rufous underparts. Their thin bills led to them being formerly classified as wood-warblers or honeycreepers but genetic data places them firmly in the tanager family and they are now generally considered to belong in the Thraupidae.” (Wikipedia)
Enjoy the Slideshow and the music below.
That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:7-10 KJV)
“Amazing Grace & I Love You Written In Red” – Choir and Orchestra at Faith Baptist
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43 KJV)
This week, you are only going to meet those Tanagers that belong to one Genus. Why? Because there are around 50 of them and they are beautiful. The Lord created these beauties, and through their breeding, many varieties are available for us to enjoy. The genus featured today are those with Tangara as the first part of their scientific name. One of my favorites is the one above (actually all of them are). You might think an artist worked on these birds. Well, actually, He Did! “I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.” (Psalms 50:11 KJV)
Well, let’s get started looking at and learning about these lovely avian wonders.
Tangara is a large genus of birds of the tanager family. It includes about 50 species, but as currently defined the genus is polyphyletic. All are from the Neotropics, and while most are fairly widespread, some have small distributions and are threatened. They are fairly small, ranging in size from 11.5–15 centimetres (4.5–5.9 in). This genus includes some of the most spectacularly colored birds of the world.
These tanagers are mainly found high in forest canopies, but some occupy more open habitat. They are found at all elevations below tree line but are most diverse in the Andean subtropical and foothill forests of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
The female builds a usually well concealed cup nest and lays two brown- or lilac-speckled white eggs. These hatch in 13–14 days and the chicks fledge in a further 15–16 days. The male and female feed the nestlings on insects and fruit, and may be assisted by helpers.
Tangara tanagers pick insects from leaves, or sometimes in flight, but fruit is a major dietary item, accounting for 53-86% of food items in those species which have been studied. (Information from Wikipedia Tangara)
And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. (Revelation 15:3 KJV)
Brazilian Tanager (Ramphocelus bresilius) by Dario Sanches
The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. (Psalms 12:6 KJV)
Wait until you see the second very colorful genus, the Ramphocelus. These are Neotropical birds that have enlarged shiny whitish or bluish-grey lower mandibles, which are pointed upwards in display. However, this is greatly reduced in the females of most species. Males are black and red, orange or yellow, while females resemble a duller version of the males, or are brownish or greyish combined with dull red, orange or yellowish.
Cherrie’s Tanager (Ramphocelus costaricensis) Female by Raymond Barlow
Ramphocelus tanagers are found in semi-open areas. The nest is a cup built by the female of plant materials such as moss, rootlets, and strips of large leaves like banana or Heliconia, and is often in a fairly open site in a tree. The female usually lays pale blue eggs, with grey, brown or lavender spots, and the young stay in the nest for only about 12 days. The songs of this genus are repetitions of rich one- or two-syllable whistles. Most of these are of a crimson or reddish hue.
The Thraupis Tanagers are another beautiful genera of the Lord’s Creation. This time, blue will is the dominate color. “These tanagers are mainly found in semi-open habitats including plantations and open woodland, but some will venture into towns. They feed from medium to high levels in trees, taking mainly fruit, with some nectar, and insects which may be taken in flight.” (Wikipedia)
This week will end with two genus that have only one species each, the Vermilion Tanager (Calochaetes coccineus) and the Blue-backed Tanager (Cyanicterus cyanicterus). All the birds this week live from Mexico down through South America.
I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. (Psalms 50:11 NKJV)
“For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” (Isaiah 55:12 KJV)
Our journey through the Song Bird Order, known as the Passeriformes Order, has been ongoing for many Sundays. There are 131 Families within this Order, and we are now down to three families to go. The Traupidae Family which we are starting today, has 375 species. Guess what? We will not be covering them all today. The last four Sundays was used to show you the Emberizidae family of 181 species. I trust you enjoyed having that family split up into “bite-size” articles. The same will be true with this family of beautiful Tanagers and allies created by their Creator.
If you are fairly new to seeing these Sunday Inspirations, the slide shows have the birds arranged in taxonomy order. So, there really is a reason for the way they are presented in the slides.
“The family has an American distribution. The Thraupidae are the second-largest family of birds and represent about 4% of all avian species and 12% of the Neotropical birds. Traditionally, about 240 species of tanagers were described, but the taxonomic treatment of this family’s members is currently in a state of flux.” (Wikipedia)
“Tanagers are small to medium-sized birds. The shortest-bodied species, the white-eared conebill, is 9 cm (3.5 in) long and weighs 7 grams, barely smaller than the short-billed honeycreeper. The longest, the magpie tanager is 28 cm (11 in) and weighs 76 grams (0.168 pounds). The heaviest is the white-capped tanager which weighs 114 grams (0.251 pounds) and measures about 24 cm (9.4 in). Both sexes are usually the same size and weight. Tanagers are often brightly colored, but some species are black and white. Birds in their first year are often duller or a different color altogether. Males are typically more brightly colored than females. Most tanagers have short, rounded wings. The shape of the bill seems to be linked to the species’ foraging habits.”(Wikipedia)
Black-faced Tanager (Schistochlamys melanopis) at National Aviary by Dan
The Brown Tanager (Orchesticus abeillei) starts us off, followed by six Cardinals in the Paroaria genus. Various Tanagers from Schistochlamys, Cissopis, Conothraupis, Lamprospiza, Compsothraupis, Sericossypha, Nemosia, Creurgops, Mitrospingus and Orthogonys. (22 birds)
We will conclude with 20 or so more Tanagers from eight various genera. As you watch the slide show, you will see how the Lord enjoyed giving a great variety of color and patterns for these avian singers.
“Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.” (Psalms 148:5 KJV)
Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty. (Job 40:10 KJV)
Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited
Vol 1. January, 1897 No. 1
THE RED-RUMPED TANAGER.
I have just been singing my morning song, and I wish you could have heard it. I think you would have liked it.
I always sing very early in the morning. I sing because I am happy, and the people like to hear me.
My home is near a small stream, where there are low woods and underbrush along its banks.
There is an old dead tree there, and just before the sun is up I fly to this tree.
I sit on one of the branches and sing for about half an hour. Then I fly away to get my breakfast.
I am very fond of fruit. Bananas grow where I live, and I like them best of all.
I eat insects, and sometimes I fly to the rice fields and swing on the stalks and eat rice.
The people say I do much harm to the rice, but I do not see why it is wrong for me to eat it, for I think there is enough for all.
I must go now and get my breakfast. If you ever come to see me I will sing to you.
I will show you my wife, too. She looks just like me. Be sure to get up very early. If you do not, you will be too late for my song.
“Birds, Birds! ye are beautiful things,
With your earth-treading feet and your cloud-cleaving wings.
Where shall man wander, and where shall he dwell—
Beautiful birds—that ye come not as well?
Ye have nests on the mountain, all rugged and stark,
Ye have nests in the forest, all tangled and dark;
Ye build and ye brood ‘neath the cottagers’ eaves,
And ye sleep on the sod, ’mid the bonnie green leaves;
Ye hide in the heather, ye lurk in the brake,
Ye dine in the sweet flags that shadow the lake;
Ye skim where the stream parts the orchard decked land,
Ye dance where the foam sweeps the desolate strand.”
Silver-beaked Tanager Through wire cage at Lowry Park Zoo by Lee
THE RED-RUMPED TANAGER.
N American family, the Tanagers are mostly birds of very brilliant plumage. There are 300 species, a few being tropical birds. They are found in British and French Guiana, living in the latter country in open spots of dwellings and feeding on bananas and other fruits. They are also said to do much harm in the rice fields.
In “The Auk,” of July, 1893, Mr. George K. Cherrie, of the Field Museum, says of the Red-Rumped Tanager:
“During my stay at Boruca and Palmar, (the last of February) the breeding season was at its height, and I observed many of the Costa Rica Red-Rumps nesting. In almost every instance where possible I collected both parents of the nests, and in the majority of cases found the males wearing the same dress as the females. In a few instances the male was in mottled plumage, evidently just assuming the adult phase, and in a lesser number of examples the male was in fully adult plumage—velvety black and crimson red. From the above it is clear that the males begin to breed before they attain fully adult plumage, and that they retain the dress of the female until, at least, the beginning of the second year.
“While on this trip I had many proofs that, in spite of its rich plumage, and being a bird of the tropics, it is well worthy to hold a place of honor among the song birds. And if the bird chooses an early hour and a secluded spot for expressing its happiness, the melody is none the less delightful. At the little village of Buenos Aires, on the Rio Grande of Terraba, I heard the song more frequently than at any other point. Close by the ranch house at which we were staying, there is a small stream bordered by low woods and underbrush, that formed a favorite resort for the birds. Just below the ranch is a convenient spot where we took our morning bath. I was always there just as the day was breaking. On the opposite bank was a small open space in the brush occupied by the limbs of a dead tree. On one of these branches, and always the same one, was the spot chosen by a Red-rump to pour forth his morning song. Some mornings I found him busy with his music when I arrived, and again he would be a few minutes behind me. Sometimes he would come from one direction, sometimes from another, but he always alighted at the same spot and then lost no time in commencing his song. While singing, the body was swayed to and fro, much after the manner of a canary while singing. The song would last for perhaps half an hour, and then away the singer would go. I have not enough musical ability to describe the song, but will say that often I remained standing quietly for a long time, only that I might listen to the music.”
The Red-Rumped Tanager has of course been renamed and renamed again. Tracking this bird was not too difficult because of its “red-rump.” It appears the bird became known as the Scarlet-rumped Tanager and now recently has been split into two species. According to Wikipedia – “The Cherrie’s Tanager, Ramphocelus costaricensis, is a medium-sized passerine bird. This tanager is a resident breeder in the Pacific lowlands of Costa Rica and western Panama. This bird was formerly known as the Scarlet-rumped Tanager, but was split as a separate species from the Caribbean form, which was itself renamed as Passerini’s Tanager,Ramphocelus passerinii. While most authorities have accepted this split, there are notable exceptions (e.g. the Howard and Moore checklist).
So now you see why I have so much “fun” every three months updating my Birds of the World pages when the IOC (International Ornithologists’ Union) updates their Birds of the World List. That is the standard used for this site.
Take you choice. Is it the Passerini’s Tanager (Ramphocelus passerinii)?
Flame-rumped Tanager (Ramphocelus flammigerus) by xeno-canto.org
Which ever one you choose, they are all in the same Genus called Ramphocelus. They are silver-beaked tanagers and are found in Central and South America. They all like fruit and insects and are closely related.
And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! (Matthew 27:28-29 KJV)
The above article is the eighth article in the monthly serial that was started in January 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized byProject Gutenberg.
Grass-green Tanager (Chlorornis riefferii) by Michael Woodruff
But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; And the birds of the air, and they will tell you; (Job 12:7 NKJV)
I have been busy trying to find photos for the Thraupidae – Tanagers and Allies Family page. The Tanagers are one of Passeriformes (Song Bird) Order. Working on this page and an upcoming series has kept me from writing as many articles.
But, Wow! Tanagers are some very neat birds that are found throughout the Americas; North, Central, and South (60% of them). Some are plain, but many are very colorful. At the present time with the IOC’s Version 2.10 of the Birds of the World list, there are 388 species in the Traupidae family. Needless to say, that is taking me some time to find the photos and then to load them to the site or provide links for the ones that I do not have permission for. I have gotten down to the Diglossa genus of Flowerpiercers. (which is a little past half way) I am trying to find as many of the supspecies also and that is where a lot of time is getting spent.
Brazilian Tanager (Ramphocelus bresilius) by Dario Sanches
The Internet Bird Collection has one of the best collections that list the supspecies. It is a tremendous site that I use quite frequently. As of today, 12/6/2011, they have 56,387 videos, 51,697 photos and 6859 sounds of birds. That represents about 88.67% of all species. When I have problems finding a photo, this place will have it most likely.
Known to God from eternity are all His works. (Acts 15:18 NKJV)
Back to the tanagers. The family is in flux and some members have been moved to other families, but most are still in the Thraupidae family which has not only Tanagers, but also Hemispingus, Shrike-Tanagers, Mountain Tanagers, Dacnis, Honeycreepers, Conebills, Flowerpiercers, Bush Tanagers, Finches, Reed Finch, Island Finch, Diuca Finch, Inca Finch, Warbling Finch, Grassquit and Orangequits, Seedeaters, Seed Finch, Bullfinch, Ground Finch, Ant Tanagers, Chat-Tanagers, Spindalis and a Plushcap.
Blue-grey Tanager (Thraupis episcopus) by Ian
Tanagers are small to medium-sized birds. The shortest-bodied species, the White-eared Conebill, is 9 cm (3.8 in) long and weighs 7 grams, barely smaller than the Short-billed Honeycreeper. The longest, the Magpie Tanager is 28 cm (11 in) and weighs 76 grams (2.7 oz). The heaviest is the White-capped Tanager which weighs 114 grams (4 oz) and measures about 24 cm (9.5 in). Both sexes are usually the same size and weight. Tanagers are often brightly colored, but some species are black and white. Birds in their first year are often duller or a different color altogether. Males are typically more brightly coloured than females.
Most tanagers have short, rounded wings. The shape of the bill seems to be linked to the species’ foraging habits, which shows forethought and design by their Creator.
Most tanagers live in pairs or in small groups of 3-5 individuals. These groups may consist simply of parents and their offspring. Birds may also be seen in single species or mixed flocks. Many tanagers are thought to have dull songs, though some are elaborate.
Tanagers are omnivorous, and their diet varies from genus to genus. They have been seen eating fruits, seeds, nectar, flower parts and insects. Many pick insects off branches. Other species look for insects on the underside of leaves. Yet others wait on branches until they see a flying insect and catch it in the air. Many of these particular species inhabit the same areas, but these specializations alleviate competition.
Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana) by Kent Nickell
The breeding season begin in March through until June in temperate areas and in September through October in South America. Some species are territorial while others build their nests closer together. There is little information on tanager breeding behavior or whether they are monogamous or polygamous. Males show off their brightest feathers to potential mates and rival males. Some species’ courtship rituals involve bowing and tail lifting.
Most tanagers build cup nests on branches in trees. Some nests are almost globular. Entrances are usually built on the side of the nest. The nests can be shallow or deep. The species of the tree they choose to build their nest in and the nest’s position varies among genera. Most species nest in an area hidden by very dense vegetation. There is still no information on the nests of some species.
Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) by Kent Nickell
The clutch size is 3–5 eggs. The female incubates the eggs and builds the nest, but the male may feed the female while she incubates. Both sexes feed the young. Five species have helpers assist in feeding the young. These helpers are thought to be the previous year’s nestlings.
The Genus I am working on right now is the Diglossa. The Flowerpiercers, The common name refers to their habit of piercing the base of flowers to access nectar that otherwise would be out of reach. This is done with their highly designed bills, although this is greatly reduced in the Bluish Flowerpiercer, which has an almost “normal” bill. Most flowerpiercers are restricted to highlands, especially the Andes, in South America, but two species occur in Central America. See the article – Formed By Him – “Sword and Piercer” Birds
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (Romans 11:33 KJV)
Well, guess I better get back to work behind the scenes again. Keep checking the page as I work to the bottom. Not sure how many more beautiful birds I’ll find, but it is fun to birdwatch through the cameras of others who go places I’ll never get to. I stay amazed at the paint brush and designs from our Creator.
Ian’s Bird of the Week – Slaty Flowerpiercers (and Hummingbirds) ~ by Ian Montgomery
Newsletter ~ 12/02/10
Last week’s hummingbirds were popular so here, in a roundabout way, are some more. Flowers often have complex relationships with the animals (eg birds, moths) with which they interact and use them for pollination and distribution of seeds. Mutually beneficial (symbiotic) relationships may develop, such as exchange of nectar for pollination, that result in structural correspondences between species of flowers and animals, in particular the length of flower tubes and the length of the bills of hummingbirds and the probosces of months.
Slaty Flowerpiercer (Diglossa plumbea) by Ian
These relationships may exclude other species and this leads to cheating in various ways, either directly or indirectly. Flowerpiercers, such as the Slaty Flowerpiercer found in Costa Rica and named after the male of the species, first photo, cheat by using their specially adapted bills to bite through the flower tube to get at the nectar without helping with pollination. The female in the second photo shows how its done with the flower of a ginger plant.
Volcano Hummingbird (Selasphorus flammula) by Ian
Some short-billed Hummingbirds do the same thing and stab the flower tube. Others, however, cheat indirectly and take advantage of the holes left by the flowerpiercers to sip the nectar. The tiny male Volcano Hummingbird (8cm/3.1in 2.5g) in the third photo is doing just that. Totally dwarfed by the ginger flower, it is hovering nearby and hasn’t had to land on the flower to stab it. The Volcano Hummingbird, incidentally, is a very close relative of the Scintillant Hummingbird of last week but has a violet rather than an orange gorget and is found, as its name suggests, at much higher altitudes. The vertical ranges of the two species just overlap at the 2,200m/7,200ft altitude of San Gerardo de Dota, the valley of the Quetzals.
White-throated Mountaingem (Lampornis castaneoventris) by Ian
The much larger male White-throated Mountain-gem (11cm/4in 6.2g) in the fourth photo has actually landed on the ginger flower, so whether it has stabbed the flower or is also taking advantage of the Flowerpiercers isn’t obvious. They’re clearly versatile: the fifth photo shows another male feeding on an alien, almost petal-less, Bottlebrush in San Gerardo de Dota, the closest one is likely to get to an Australian Hummingbird!
White-throated Mountaingem (Lampornis castaneoventris) by Ian
Now, Ian, how did you know I was just reading about the Flowerpiercers this week? Thanks for the beautiful photos and article about these birds.
Could it be that the flowerpiercers are not cheating, but just doing as they were designed to do. By poking those holes they are not only getting a drink but allowing the little guys to have access also to a meal of nectar. Such forethought!
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3 KJV)
While working on the Hummingbird and the Tanager pages, the Flowerpiercer again caught my eye like the Sword-billed Hummingbird had from Michael Woodruff photos. If too many of the hummers had those long beaks, there would be a lot of sore necks. So by having the flowerpiercers pierce a hole nearer to the nectar, there are many hummers that get to have shorter beaks and less neck aches!
The common name refers to their habit of piercing the base of flowers to access nectar that otherwise would be out of reach. This is done with their highly modified bills, although this is greatly reduced in the Bluish Flowerpiercer, which has an almost “normal” bill. Most flowerpiercers are restricted to highlands, especially the Andes, in South America, but two species occur in Central America.