Adult males are dull-red with blackish bills and black cheeks. Some males are strikingly blotched, red and green. The dull-red plumage is retained year-round. Females are yellow-green, similar to Scarlet Tanager. Occasionally, they are orangey and less yellow. Juveniles resemble yellow-and-gray females but are heavily streaked overall. Although the plumage of Hepatic Tanager (Piranga flava) is very bright, it is seldom conspicuous.
The male’s song is very much like that of the American Robin.
Although their actions while feeding are slow and deliberate, hepatic tanagers are restless birds moving from tree to tree, often traveling distances of several hundred yards at a time.
Distribution & Habitat
The Hepatic Tanager is relatively common and widespread in semideciduous and humid forests, and at forest edges. In Arizona and New Mexico, this species is primarily associated with the prime ponderosa zone, also occurring in pine-oak and oak woodlands, especially nearly streams.
- Thomas S. Schulenberg, Douglas F. Stotz, Daniel F. Lane, John P. O’Neill, Theodore A. Parker – Birds Of Peru
- Paul A. Johnsgard – Birds Of The Rocky Mountains
- Jon Lloyd Dunn, Jonathan K. Alderfer – National Geographic Field Guide To The Birds Of North America