Backyard Birds

Green-headed Tanager

The Green-headed Tanager, Tangara seledon, is a colorful, medium-sized tanager that lives throughout Atlantic forests in South America

Distribution / Habitat:

This tanager is commonly found in south-eastern Brazil, far eastern Paraguay and far north-eastern Argentina (Misiones only).

Even though it favors humid forests, this bird is also common in orchards and parks. It usually occurs at higher elevations. Its blue-green coloration camouflages it well amongst the foliage.

These social birds are usually seen in small flocks (10 to 20 birds). They also form mixed flocks.

Like most small birds, the Green-headed Tanagers are very active. They bounce from one branch to the next like a pinball before settling onto a favored feeding area.



The Green-headed Tanager averages 13.5 centimeters (5.3 in) in length.

The spectacular plumage of the Green-headed Tanagers consists of about 6 different colors featuring an opalescent quality.

It has a turquoise head and neck that change into a yellow half-collar then black. The breast is light blue. The wing coverts are dark blue, while the wings are black with a broadly edged green. It has a black bib, a turquoise to green belly and a bright orange rump (lower back). For the most part, the rump is only visible when in flight.

Females and young (immature) birds are paler and more greenish.


Nesting / Breeding:

The bulky cup nest is built in a tree and the normal clutch consists of two brown-blotched creamy eggs. The female incubates the eggs for 13–14 days to hatching, with another 14–18 days before the chicks fledge.


Their primary diet consists of fruit, but they also eat seeds and insects, usually taken from the underside of branches or chasing insects from a perch. It also visits bird tables for an easy meal. They also like nectar. In order to reach the nectar in extrafloral nectaries, it touches the flowers and pollinates them.

Calls / Vocalizations:

They utter squeaky TSEEe, cheIT, tsewk calls;> calls. A loud, trisyllalbic, descending dawn song.


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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