Return of Bird of the Week: White-lined Tanager


White-lined Tanager Male, Western Ecuador

White-lined Tanager Male, Western Ecuador

To some extent, the White-lined Tanager is an odd species. It is very widely distributed, ranging from Costa Rica to Argentina, and across the width of South America. There are isolated populations scattered in the Andes. Yet there are no subspecies. It is monotypic.

It is strongly sexually dimorphic; the bright, rufous female looks unrelated to the jet-black male. Those white wing coverts are not usually visible in the field.

White-lined Tanager Female, Western Ecuador

White-lined Tanager Female, Western Ecuador

Because it adapts well to deforested areas, its range and population is expanding. And its genus, Tachyphonus, has only three species. And, unusually for a tanager, the White-lined Tanager forages in mated pairs and rarely (perhaps never) in mixed flocks.

Even for a tanager, surprisingly little research has been done on this species. It is known that White-lined Tanager nests are preferred targets for brood parasitism by Bronzed and Shiny Cowbirds, but that’s about it.

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