Family Cardinals (Cardinalidae)

Least Concern

Flame-colored Tanager (Piranga bidentata)


French: Piranga à dos rayé German: Blutkardinal Spanish: Piranga estriada

Pyranga bidentata


, 1827,

Temascaltepec, Mexico


See remarks under P. ludoviciana. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. b. bidentata Swainson, 1827 – extreme SW USA (rare and irregular in S Arizona, casual in W Texas), and W Mexico from Sonora and Chihuahua S to Guerrero and E to vicinity of Mexico City.
  • P. b. flammea Ridgway, 1887 – W Mexico (Nayarit and Tres Marías Is).
  • P. b. sanguinolenta Lafresnaye, 1839 – E Mexico (from Nuevo León and Tamaulipas) S to Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and NC Nicaragua.
  • P. b. citrea van Rossem, 1934 – mountains of Costa Rica and W Panama.
  • Descriptive notes

    18–19 cm; 33·3–39·4 g (nominate), 32–48·4 g (flammea). Distinctive tanager with strong bill. Male nominate race has lores,... read more


    Song, from high perch, a long series of phrases of 3–6 notes, rich, musical and reminiscent... read more


    Canopy and treetops of moist and humid mountain forest, scattered trees in adjacent shady pastures... read more

    Food and feeding

    Small arthropods; also variety of berries, including those of Ericaceae, melastomes, Ficus and Satyria. Not very... read more


    Breeding reported in Apr and May in Costa Rica and May in Panama. Nest a loose open cup of stiff rootlets, slender twigs and vine tendrils... read more


    Largely resident; in Mexico may move to lower elevations during winter months. Rare pre-breeding... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon to locally fairly common. Rare breeder in extreme S USA (S Arizona and W Texas), where first record (in Apr 1985, in Cave Creek Canyon, in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hilty, S. (2019). Flame-colored Tanager (Piranga bidentata). 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 25 August 2019).