Bay-headed tanager in San Antonio

Tangara gyrola: stunning colour combinations!

Tangara gyrola: stunning colour combinations!

This week I  added the Bay-headed tanager (Tangara gyrola) to the list of species for San Antonio.  This beautiful bird is common enough fairly close by, down at San Diego and at the Guayabo National Monument, but it is not so common at higher elevations.  The combination of sky-blue underparts, green and yellow back and chestnut head really gets your attention, but its call note is a  rather inconspicuous weakly high-pitched “sip”.

Like other tanagers it’s a fruit-eater, and it often associates with other tanager species.  With regard to identification, you really need only make sure that the bird you’re looking at does not have the rufous wings of the very similar Rufous-winged tanager (Tangara lavinia).  That species has never been seen in San Antonio, as far as I know; it is found mostly between 250 and 800 m on the Caribbean slope.  I live in hope!

For San Antonio we now have 11 different tanager species recorded so far and almost all of them display vivid plumage.  Many thanks to Karel Straatman for his photo of this particular beauty.

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