Backyard BirdsUncategorized

White-shouldered Tanagers

The White-shouldered Tanagers (Tachyphonus luctuosus) is a medium-sized passerine bird.


White-shouldered Tanagers are 14 cm long and weigh 14 g. They are long-tailed and with a mostly black stout pointed bill.

The adult male is glossy black, apart from white underwing coverts and a conspicuous white shoulder patch. The shoulder patch is the most obvious difference from the similar but larger White-lined Tanager, in which the smaller white area is rarely visible except in flight.

Females and immatures have olive upperparts, yellow underparts and a grey head and neck.

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Distribution / Habitat

This tanager is a resident breeder from Honduras to Panama, South America south to Ecuador and southern Brazil, and on Trinidad.

It occurs in forests and cocoa plantations.

Breeding / Nesting

The bulky cup nest is built in low vegetation, and the female lays three brown-blotched cream eggs.


These are restless birds which eat mainly insects, including stick insects, but will occasionally take fruit. They often associate with other insectivorous birds in wandering feeding flocks.

Call / Song

The White-shouldered Tanager’s song is a fast repetitive tchirrup.


  • BirdLife International (2004). Tachyphonus luctuosus. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concernBirds of Venezuela by Hilty, ISBN 0-7136-6418-5ffrench, Richard (1991). A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago (2nd edition ed.). Comstock Publishing. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2.

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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