Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Orange-headed Tanager (Thlypopsis sordida)


French: Tangara à tête orange German: Orangekopftangare Spanish: Tangara cabecinaranja

N[emosia]. sordida

d’Orbigny and Lafresnaye

, 1837,

Yuracares, Bolivia


See T. inornata. Subspecies rather similar in appearance, but merit study: chrysopis differs from nominate in its paler crown (1); fractionally sandier-grey upperparts (ns); grey vs pinkish-buff breast and flanks (2); and possibly in possessing a chattering duet, not yet recorded in the nominate (no recordings yet of orinocensis). Three subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. s. orinocensis Friedmann, 1942 – R Orinoco (from near Soledad, in Bolívar, S to S of Puerto Ayacucho, in Amazonas), in C Venezuela.
  • T. s. chrysopis (P. L. Sclater & Salvin, 1880) – Western Orange-headed Tanager – extreme S Colombia (E of Andes), E Ecuador, E Peru and W Brazil (E to R Madeira and R Jiparaná).
  • T. s. sordida (d’Orbigny & Lafresnaye, 1837) – Eastern Orange-headed Tanager – S & E Brazil S of R Amazon (E & S Pará E to Ceará and Paraíba, S to Mato Grosso do Sul, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro), E Bolivia, N Argentina (S to Tucumán, Corrientes and Misiones) and Paraguay.
  • Descriptive notes

    13 cm; 14–19 g. Small, rather drab, thin-billed tanager with yellow-orange head, and proportions like those of a New World warbler (Parulidae). Male nomi­nate race... read more


    Song (solo) varies geographically: in N Peru and Ecuador a high-pitched, jerky, rising-and-falling... read more


    In Venezuela and in W Amazonia found mainly in early successional vegetation on river islands and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Of eight stomachs examined, three contained only vegetable matter, four only animal matter, and one contained both; contents included... read more


    One nest found, in Dec in Argentina: an open cup c. 2 m up; contained 2 eggs, bluish-white, marked with brown and cinnamon. Regularly... read more


    Seasonal movements reported in Brazil (Mato Grosso) and in N Argentina, where moves from Andean... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon to locally common. Occurs in a wide variety of mostly edge and secondary habitats. In a few areas it is under pressure from human... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hilty, S. (2020). Orange-headed Tanager (Thlypopsis sordida). 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 23 January 2020).