Backyard Birds

Spotted Tanagers

The Spotted Tanagers (Tangara punctata) – also known as the Emerald Spotted Tanagers – occur naturally in South-America, where they are specifically found in the following countries:

Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela. It inhabits subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and montanes.


Spotted Tanagers average 13 – 14 cm in length.

The upperparts are generally bright green with a creamy white belly. The plumage is fleckled with black.

The face and throat have a blue-grey tinge.

The plumage below is white with large black spots.

Males and females look alike, except the plumage of the female is a liittle duller compared to that of the male; and the black flecking is less prominent. The male has a more flat head, while the hen’s is more rounded.

Immature birds look like adults, but their plumage is a dirty washed out version of the adults with a browny wash.

Breeding / Nesting

They built small cup nests in trees. The average clutch consists of 2 – 4 brown-blotched white eggs. The eggs are incubated by the female for about 13 – 15 days.

The young remain in the nest until they are about13 – 15 days old.


Their primary diet consists of fruits and insects, which they hunt for on the outer leaves of the canopy. But they can also be seen lower down when attracted by a fruiting tree. They also eat nectar and seeds.

Calls / Vocalizations:

Its flight call is a weak metallic chirping tsip.


Tangara punctata (Linnaeus, 1766) — Spotted Tanager(nominate species)

  • Tangara punctata annectens (Zimmer, 1943)
  • Tangara punctata perenensis (Chapman, 1925)
  • Tangara punctata punctata (Linnaeus, 1766)
  • Tangara punctata punctulata (P. L. Sclater and Salvin, 1876)
  • Tangara punctata zamorae (Chapman, 1925 )

Tanager InformationTanager SpeciesTanager Species Photo Gallery


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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