I’ve been quiet for a while – thanks to college, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t done any birding. Last week I spotted a female White-lined Tanager (Tachyphonus rufus) in my backyard.
I kind of wish there was a male around because that would’ve made a great picture but you work with what you have. Also I thought this was a female Silver-beaked Tanager until yesterday when I actually got around to taking a closer look.
The White-lined Tanager is strikingly dimorphic, and the sight of the black male in close association with the rufous female is often the first clue to identification. The name refers to the extensive white on the underwing coverts of the male, which typically are only visible in flight. Females are cinnamon in colour. The rump and tail of the female have a more reddish-brown colour with a splash of gray on the head. They measure between 13 and 18 cm and have short, sharply pointed beaks.
White-lined Tanagers are patchily distributed in areas of open forest from Costa Rica south to western Ecuador, from northern Colombia east to the Guianas, from eastern Brazil south to northern Argentina, and in the eastern Andes of Peru and southern Ecuador. They eat a wide variety of fruit but also take some nectar and insects, including beetles, ants and grasshoppers. I even caught a few seconds on video but not a very good video.
I hope I spot the male soon because I would love a look at the white underwing 🙂