Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Opal-rumped Tanager (Tangara velia)


French: Calliste varié German: Rotbauchtangare Spanish: Tangara velia

Motacilla Velia


, 1758,



Formerly placed with T. callophrys in a separate genus, Tanagrella. Molecular data indicate that the two are sister-species, and that T. chilensis is sister to both. Until recently considered conspecific with T. cyanomelas. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. v. iridina (Hartlaub, 1841) – E Colombia (from NW Meta and S Vichada) S to E Ecuador, E Peru and N Bolivia (S to Beni), E to S Venezuela (Amazonas and Bolívar) and W Amazonian Brazil (E to R Negro, lower R Tapajós and NW Mato Grosso).
  • T. v. velia (Linnaeus, 1758) – the Guianas and N Brazil N of R Amazon (from R Negro E to Pará).
  • T. v. signata (Hellmayr, 1905) – NE Brazil (NE Pará).
  • Descriptive notes

    12–14 cm; 19–23 g. Dark tanager with marked geographical variation in plumage. Nominate race has crown and nape to back and scapulars deep velvety black, rump... read more


    Calls during foraging high, thin, rapid bursts of “sit” and “sit” and... read more


    Treetops in humid terra firme and várzea forest, less often forest borders... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruits and arthropods; three stomachs contained only fruit. Pairs or small groups move in and out of canopy mixed-species flocks, often... read more


    Begging juvenile followed three adults on 18th Sept in Colombia (NE Guainía); eggs reported as being greyish-white, thickly dotted... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon to locally fairly common in Amazonia, where widespread; isolated E race cyanomelas uncommon and very localized. Occurs in numerous... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hilty, S. (2019). Opal-rumped Tanager (Tangara velia). 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 May 2019).