Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Magpie Tanager (Cissopis leverianus)


French: Tangara pillurion German: Elstertangare Spanish: Tangara urraca

Lanius Leverianus

J. F. Gmelin

, 1788,

no locality = French Guiana


Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. l. leverianus (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) – W & E Venezuela (on both slopes of Andes, and S of R Orinoco) E to Suriname and Brazil (N Roraima), also Colombia (E slope of Andes S from Norte de Santander) S to Bolivia (Santa Cruz) and E across Brazil S of Amazon to C Mato Grosso, SE Pará and S Maranhão; also extreme E Brazil (Pernambuco and Alagoas).
  • C. l. major Cabanis, 1851 – SE Brazil (Goiás and S Bahia S to N Rio Grande do Sul), E Paraguay and NE Argentina (Misiones).
  • Descriptive notes

    25–26 cm, 73–86 g (leverianus); 29 cm, one male 75·8 g and two females 67·5–71 g (major). Large, long-tailed... read more


    Not especially vocal. Most often heard are loud, metallic “chink” notes, given as pair... read more


    Shrubby clearings in floodplain-forest or terra firme forest, disturbed areas and openings... read more

    Food and feeding

    Arthropods and fruit. Has been noted as taking berries of Hamelia patens and Phytolacca, and small, hard green buds, and... read more


    Breeding recorded in Oct in SE Brazil (Rio de Janeiro). Cup-nest of twigs, plant material and grass, occasionally leaves, placed in branch... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common and widespread. Deforestation has greatly reduced populations in SE & E Brazil. On the other hand, benefits from creation of small... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hilty, S. (2019). Magpie Tanager (Cissopis leverianus). 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 13 December 2019).