Orange Tanager (Orange-Headed Tanager)

Thlypopsis sordida

Last updated: October 13, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
Image Credit 1,478 × 1,237 pixels, file size: 333 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg

They inhabit the lowlands of the Amazon rainforest

Orange Tanager (Orange-Headed Tanager) Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Passeriformes
Family
Thraupidae
Genus
Thylpopsis
Scientific Name
Thlypopsis sordida

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Orange Tanager (Orange-Headed Tanager) Conservation Status

Orange Tanager (Orange-Headed Tanager) Locations

Orange Tanager (Orange-Headed Tanager) Locations

Orange Tanager (Orange-Headed Tanager) Facts

Prey
Grasshoppers, crickets, and locusts
Main Prey
Orthopterans
Name Of Young
Chicks
Group Behavior
  • Group
  • Pair
Fun Fact
They inhabit the lowlands of the Amazon rainforest
Estimated Population Size
Unknown but stable
Most Distinctive Feature
Orange and yellow heads
Distinctive Feature
rotund bodies, thin bills, and medium-sized tails
Habitat
Semi-humid savannas and open woodlands
Predators
Birds of prey, monkeys, and snakes
Diet
Omnivore
Lifestyle
  • Diurnal
Favorite Food
Grasshoppers
Type
Bird
Common Name
Orange-headed tanager
Special Features
rapid, high-pitched calls
Number Of Species
3
Location
South America
Average Clutch Size
2
Nesting Location
Tree fork surrounded by vegetation

Orange Tanager (Orange-Headed Tanager) Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Grey
  • Yellow
  • White
  • Orange
  • Sandy
Skin Type
Feathers
Lifespan
3.7 years (on average)
Weight
0.49 to 0.67 ounces
Length
5.1 inches

This post may contain affiliate links to our partners like Chewy, Amazon, and others. Purchasing through these helps us further the A-Z Animals mission to educate about the world's species..

View all of the Orange Tanager (Orange-Headed Tanager) images!



“It lives in the lowlands of the Amazon rainforest.”

Summary

The orange tanager (orange-headed tanager) is a small bird native to the neotropical region of South America. It spends its days foraging in trees and shrubs for insects, often with a small group. Though relatively uncommon, they have an extensive range and learn to adapt to disruptions in their environment. Discover everything there is to know about this orange bird, including its habitat, diet, and behavior.

5 Amazing Orange Tanager Facts

  • Orange tanagers inhabit the lowlands of the Amazon rainforest, living in semi-humid savannas and open woodlands.
  • They make quick, high-pitched calls while perched on branches or in mid-flight.
  • These birds are moderately social, often seen in pairs, small groups, or mixed-species flocks.
  • They primarily eat orthopterans, which include crickets, grasshoppers, and locusts.
  • This tanager species is largely unstudied. We don’t know much about its behavior, reproduction, and lifespan.

Where to Find the Orange Tanager

The orange tanager lives in eight countries in South America, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela. It inhabits the lowland areas of the Amazon rainforest but can be found in elevations up to 2,600 feet. It lives in semi-humid savannas, open woodlands, parks, and riparian forests in the Southern Amazon. You can find it in scrub, brush, and open woodland edges in Argentina. They will also inhabit heavily degraded former forests, but rarely in uninterrupted forests.

6,616 People Couldn't Ace This Quiz

Think You Can?

Orange Tanager Nest

Females place their nests in trees around six feet above the ground, most likely in a fork with plenty of vegetation. She makes a cup-shaped nest from twigs and other plant material.

Scientific Name

The orange tanager (Thlypopsis sordida) is from the Thraupidae family, which encompasses a large portion of neotropical perching birds. Its genus, Thlypopsis, included eight tanager species, of which the orange-headed tanager is the type species. It’s Ancient Greek for an unknown small bird. Its specific name, Sordida, is Latin for “dirty” or “shabby.” The orange tanager has three recognized subspecies.

Size, Appearance, & Behavior

Orange Tanager
Orange tanagers may not mate for life, but they most likely keep one mate per breeding season.

Elkin Restrepo/Shutterstock.com

This small tanager measures 5.1 inches and weighs 0.49 to 0.67 ounces, with an unknown wingspan. Adult males have orangish-yellow heads with buff to white underparts and sandy-gray upper parts. And females and immatures have duller undersides and less extensive yellow coloring on their heads. This species also has small, thin bills, rotund bodies, and medium-sized tails. The orange tanager is moderately social, often found in pairs or small groups of three or four. They sometimes forage in mixed-species flocks. They glean for insects in trees, and you can hear their rapid, high-pitched calls while perched on a branch or mid-flight. 

Migration Pattern and Timing

This species is primarily sedentary, but some populations in Brazil and Argentina will migrate short distances. Those living in the Andes Mountains will move to the lowlands during winter.

Diet

The orange tanager is an omnivore that forages like a warbler.

What Does the Orange Tanager Eat?

Their primary diet includes orthopterans, including grasshoppers, crickets, and locusts. But they also eat spiders, beetles, and flies. They supplement their diet with some fruit and seeds. They forage like New World warblers by hopping and gleaning insects from leaves and other foliage. Occasionally, they will snatch their prey mid-air.

Predators, Threats, and Conservation Status

The IUCN lists the orang tanager (orange-headed tanager) as LC or “least concern.” Due to its extensive range and stable population size, they do not meet the thresholds for “threatened” status. They are known for inhabiting heavily degraded former forests and adapting well to forest clearing.

What Eats the Orange Tanager?

Not much is known about the orange tanager’s predators, but they may include birds of prey like owls and falcons. Their nest predators are probably similar to other tanagers and include monkeys, snakes, and bigger carnivorous birds. Most tanagers make alarm sounds, chase, dive, and swoop at intruders.

Reproduction, Young, and Molting

Orange tanagers may not mate for life, but they most likely keep one mate per breeding season. The nesting season is in December, and females lay two bluish-white eggs with brown markings. The shiny cowbird occasionally lays its eggs in tanager nests. We don’t know how long the incubation process is or when their young fledge the nest. Orange tanagers live an average of 3.7 years.

Population

The orange tanager global population is unknown, but their numbers appear stable. Because their numbers have not been quantified, we can’t be sure they are not facing declines. This species is relatively common within its range and is not experiencing extreme fluctuations or fragmentations.

Similar Animals:

View all 48 animals that start with O

About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer and content creator focusing on nature, wildlife, food, and travel. She graduated Kappa Beta Delta from Florida State College with a business degree before realizing writing was her true passion. She lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and enjoys hiking, reading, and cooking!

Orange Tanager (Orange-Headed Tanager) FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Where do orange tanagers live?

They live in semi-humid savannas and open woodlands in South America.

How big is an orange tanager?

This small tanager measures 5.1 inches and weighs 0.49 to 0.67 ounces, with an unknown wingspan.

What do orange tanagers look like?

Adult males have orangish-yellow heads with buff to white underparts and sandy-gray upper parts. And females and immatures have duller undersides and less extensive yellow coloring on their heads.

What do orange tanagers eat?

Their primary diet includes orthopterans, including grasshoppers, crickets, and locusts. But they also eat spiders, beetles, and flies.

What threatens the orange tanager?

Orange tanagers are facing any significant threats at the moment. They are known for inhabiting heavily degraded former forests and adapting well to forest clearing.

What eats orange tanagers?

These birds fall victim to birds of prey. Their nest predators include snakes, monkeys, and large birds.

How many eggs do orange tanagers lay?

Females lay two bluish-white eggs with brown markings.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. Red List / BirdLife International, Available here: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22722263/94757935
  2. Peru Aves / A. Begazo, Available here: https://www.peruaves.org/thraupidae/orange-headed-tanager-thlypopsis-sordida/
  3. Avibase - The World Bird Database, Available here: https://avibase.bsc-eoc.org/species.jsp?lang=EN&avibaseid=B185095D38AFD28B&sec=summary

Newly Added Animals

A Helicoprion
Helicoprion

Helicoprion was one of the largest cartilaginous fish of all time.

A Scutosaurus
Scutosaurus

Unlike most reptiles, Scutosaurus' legs were positioned underneath its body to support its great weigh

A Knifefish
Knifefish

Produce weak electric fields

Most Recently Updated Animals

A White-tail deer
White-tail deer

White-tail deer are good swimmers

A Scutosaurus
Scutosaurus

Unlike most reptiles, Scutosaurus' legs were positioned underneath its body to support its great weigh

A Knifefish
Knifefish

Produce weak electric fields