Discover the Enchanting Beauty of the Summer Tanager: North America’s Gem

Discover the Enchanting Beauty of the Summer Tanager: North America’s Gem

Prepare to be captivated by the mesmerizing allure of the Summer Tanager, a true gem in the world of avian wonders. Draped in hues ranging from rosy red to vibrant orange, this species undoubtedly ranks among the most captivating birds gracing North America’s landscapes.

The adult male Summer Tanager dons an awe-inspiring cloak of radiant red plumage that defies description. In contrast, immature males exhibit a subtle fusion of dull yellow-olive adorned with smudges of red. The females, equally stunning, showcase a palette that varies from pale, muted yellow to delicate shades of orange.
While they remain devoted within a breeding season, Summer Tanagers typically explore new partnerships each year, practicing sequential monogamy.

Once classified among tanagers, the Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra) now finds its place among its genus members in the Cardinal family, Cardinalidae. This medium-sized songbird thrives in open woodland habitats, particularly favoring areas rich in oak trees. Their diet primarily revolves around honey bees and wasps, complemented by other insects and occasional berry treats.

Spot Summer Tanagers perched high in forest canopies, patiently poised to dart into the air, capturing flying insects. Their adept maneuvering through tree branches showcases their leisurely approach to foraging.

Male Summer Tanagers maintain their radiant red plumage year-round, measuring approximately 6.7 inches in length. Distinguishing them from Scarlet Tanagers are their paler feathers and notably red wings instead of black.

Juvenile males mirror females, displaying a striking yellow-green hue with hints of yellow on the head and underparts, and a greener tone on the wings and back.

Females exhibit an olive hue above and an orange-yellow glow below. Their wings and tail flaunt shades of olive-brown, occasionally developing male-like pigmentation as they mature.

The male Summer Tanager enchants its surroundings with a sweet, whistling tune reminiscent of the American Robin. Both males and females emit a distinctive pit-ti-tuck call, instantly recognizable to those attuned to their enchanting melodies.

During the breeding season, Summer Tanagers craft nests on horizontal branches, positioned 2.5 to 10.5 meters above ground. Nest-building is the female’s task, using herbaceous vegetation and grass to fashion a cozy haven for her three to four eggs.

The female solely handles incubation duties, spanning around 12 to 13 days. During this period, the male may care for the female or tend to his plumage.

After hatching, the male takes an active role, assisting the female in feeding and tending to their needs. After 8 to 10 weeks, fledglings embark on their own remarkable journeys.

The Summer Tanager graces the southern and eastern parts of the United States, its habitat extending southward from southern Pennsylvania and northern Illinois.

Immerse yourself in the captivating presence of the Summer Tanager by observing and savoring their enchanting performance in the video below:

With its vivid colors, melodic serenades, and nesting artistry, the Summer Tanager truly shines as a captivating gem in North America’s avian landscape.

Hoan Le