Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Blue-backed Tanager (Cyanicterus cyanicterus)


French: Tangara cyanictère German: Ziertangare Spanish: Tangara dorsiazul

Pyranga cyanicterus


, 1819,

probably Cayenne, French Guiana




E Venezuela (R Yuruán; sight records also at San Isidro and foothills of Sierra de Lema) E across C Guyana and Suriname to French Guiana; also several tiny and presumably isolated populations in C & E Amazonian Brazil (E Amazonas, Pará).

Descriptive notes

17 cm; 33–36 g. Distinctive blue and yellow tanager with long, heavy bill with decurved culmen. Male has head, neck, upper breast, and upperparts, including upperwing-coverts... read more


Can be quite noisy. In SE Venezuela, both sexes, while perched or in flight, give high-pitched,... read more


Humid lowland forest, tall forest borders, and adjacent tall trees in small clearings close to... read more

Food and feeding

Stomach contents in Suriname included beetles (Coleoptera) and bugs (Hemiptera, including homopterans). Reported as eating fruit of ... read more


No information.


Almost certainly resident; pairs or groups found year after year at certain localities in E... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Rare to uncommon, and possibly local; apparently absent from some seemingly suitable sites. Seems to occur normally at very low density. Confined... read more

Recommended citation

Hilty, S. (2020). Blue-backed Tanager (Cyanicterus cyanicterus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 19 February 2020).