Friday, 15 November 2013

Grey-headed tanager

Eucometis penicillata

Photo by Ramiro Ramirez (Flickr)

Common name:
grey-headed tanager (en); pipira-da-taoca (pt); tangara à tête grise (fr); tangara cabecigrís (es); graukopftangare (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Thraupidae

This species is found from southern Mexico to Bolivia and central Brazil as far south as Minas Gerais and Mato Grosso do Sul. They are only present east of the Andes mountain chain.

These birds are 15-17 cm long and weigh 22-35 g.

The grey-headed tanager is found in both moist and dry tropical forests, swamp forests, mangroves, scrublands, pastures and arable land. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.700 m.

They eat both arthropods and fruits, namely Miconia berries, seeds and bananas, flies, spiders, roaches, caterpillars, crickets, bugs, moths, centipedes, winged ants, and small beetles.

Grey-headed tanagers can breed all year round, the breeding season varying among different parts of their range. The nest is a small, thin, loose cup made of small twigs, plant fibres, rootlets and fungal hyphae. It is placed in a fork in a tree or scrub, up to 3 m above the ground, typically in an area of thick undergrowth. The female lays 1-3 pale blue-grey eggs, heavily marked brown and black. She incubates the eggs alone for 14-16 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 11-12 days, but can remain with the parents for several months afterwards.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 0,5-5 million individuals. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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