Sooty-capped Bush Tanagers

The Sooty-capped Bush Tanager (Chlorospingus pileatus) is endemic in the highlands of Costa Rica and western Panama, where it favors mossy mountain forests, second growth and adjacent bushy clearings, typically from 1600 m altitude to above the timberline.


The Sooty-capped Bush Tanager is related to Common Bush-Tanager. The main difference being that it has a blacker head with a white supercilium (line above eye) rather than an eye spot.

The adult Sooty-capped Bush-Tanager is 13.5 cm long and weighs 20g. It has a blackish head with a white supercilium and a grey throat. It has olive upperparts and yellow underparts, becoming white on the belly. Some individuals in the Irazu-Turrialba area are greyer and lack yellow in the underparts.

Immatures are browner-headed, duller below, and have a duller olive-tinged supercilium.

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Nesting / Breeding

They build bulky cup nests on banks, in dense bushes or hidden amongst epiphytes up to 11 m high in trees. The average clutch consists of two pink-brown marked white eggs.

Diet / Feeding

Sooty-capped Bush-Tanagers feed on insects, spiders and small fruits. They are usually seen in small groups or as part of mixed-species feeding flocks.

Song / Vocalization

Its call is a high tseet tseet. The song is a scratchy seechur seechur see see seechur seechur with variations.

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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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