Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager

Piranga rubra

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7.75” long. The Summer Tanager is a rather large tanager with a stout, pointed, pale bill. In the spring and summer the adult male has red plumage on the entire body. This plumage is brightest on the underparts. The wings and tail are reddish. The female has an olive-brown back with orange-yellow underparts. The wings and tail are gray. In the fall and winter the male is similar to the female. The first spring male often has yellow patches on the body and dusky wings as it changes to summer plumage.


The Summer Tanager is an uncommon summer breeder but perhaps becoming more common. It arrives in late April and leaves by mid-October.


The Summer Tanager inhabits the treetops of deciduous forests. It is noted for its consumption of bees and wasps as well as other insects. It also eats fruit such as mulberries. The Summer Tanager call is a distinctive “pit-i-tuck”.


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