Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Blue Dacnis (Dacnis cayana)


French: Dacnis bleu German: Blaukopfpitpit Spanish: Dacnis azul

Motacilla cayana


, 1766,

Cayenne, French Guiana


Race caerebicolor previously misspelt coerebicolor in HBW and elsewhere#R. Eight subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • D. c. ultramarina Lawrence, 1864 – Caribbean slope from extreme E Honduras S to Panama and NW Colombia (on W side of Gulf of Urabá).
  • D. c. callaina Bangs, 1905 – W Costa Rica and SW Panama (Chiriquí).
  • D. c. napaea Bangs, 1898 – N Colombia from Santa Marta region S to E side of Gulf of Urabá and across lower Magdalena Valley.
  • D. c. caerebicolor#R P. L. Sclater, 1851 – N Colombia (lower Cauca Valley and middle and upper Magdalena Valley).
  • D. c. baudoana Meyer de Schauensee, 1946 – Pacific coast of W Colombia (from Baudó Mts) S to W Ecuador (to at least Pichincha, perhaps formerly S to Guayas).
  • D. c. cayana (Linnaeus, 1766) – E Colombia (E from Meta and Arauca), Venezuela (in Maracaibo region, and generally E of Andes and S of R Orinoco), Trinidad, the Guianas, and Brazil (except S & E).
  • D. c. glaucogularis Berlepsch & Stolzmann, 1896 – S Colombia (Caquetá and Putumayo), E Ecuador, E Peru and N & E Bolivia.
  • D. c. paraguayensis C. Chubb, 1910 – E & S Brazil (Maranhão and Ceará S to C Mato Grosso and Rio Grande do Sul), E Paraguay and NE Argentina (Misiones).
  • Descriptive notes

    11–12 cm; c. 15 g (paraguayensis), 10–15·5 g (other races). Small dacnis with thin and pointed bill. Male nominate race has lores and small area... read more


    Calls are high, thin “tsit” notes and a high “chit” or “chit-it” or “tseep”; weak, easily... read more


    Moist to wet várzea and terra firme forest, second growth, and semi-open... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruits and arthropods. Of 28 stomachs examined, 17 contained only vegetable matter and seven only animal matter, and four contained both;... read more


    Breeding activity reported in May–Oct, with fledglings in Nov, in Costa Rica. Three adults observed to feed nestlings at one nest.... read more


    Predominantly resident. Some minor seasonal elevational movements; on Pacific slope (R Anchicayá)... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common and widely distributed throughout its large range. Occurs in many protected areas, and vast areas of its range in the Guianas... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hilty, S. (2020). Blue Dacnis (Dacnis cayana). 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 27 February 2020).