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October 24, 2021


Return of Bird of the Week: Lemon-rumped Tanager

Not everyone agrees that the Lemon-rumped Tanager is a species. The International Ornithological Congress does; that’s the world bird list that WC follows. The folks over at Clements think it is a subspecies of the Flame-rumped Tanager. Not to be confused with the Flame-coloredTanager, a completely different species. There was a failure of imagination in the naming of some tanager species.

But either way the Lemon-rumped Tanager is a handsome bird.

Lemon-rumped Tanager Male, Ecuador

Lemon-rumped Tanager Male, Ecuador

Jet black, with a brilliant lemon yellow rump, it is unmistakeable when you see it. The species – subspecies, if you prefer – ranges from Central America to southern Ecuador. It sometimes forage in small flocks, but rarely in mixed flocks. It’s primarily a fruit eater, capturing insects mostly to feed nestlings.

It Really Is a Lemon Rump

It Really Is a Lemon Rump

It’s strongly sexually dimorphic. The female looks like another species entirely.

Female Lemon-rumped Tanager, Ecuador

Female Lemon-rumped Tanager, Ecuador

(Yes, it’s a feeder shot, and one with a over-exposed banana at that, but it shows the female’s coloration pretty well.)

The Lemon-rumpeds seem to do well in disturbed habitat. WC’s lifer Lemon-rumped was in a garden in Quito, Ecuador, a thoroughly urbanized area. That, and their fairly wide distribution, makes it unlikely the species is under immediate threat. Even so, the population is unknown, changes in population are mostly guesses and, as you are probably tired of hearing, it’s poorly studied.

For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.



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