Family Cardinals (Cardinalidae)

Least Concern

Red-crowned Ant-tanager (Habia rubica)


French: Habia à couronne rouge German: Karmesinkardinal Spanish: Habia coronirroja

Staltator [sic] rubicus


, 1817,



Nominate race and bahiae geographically isolated from (and larger and darker than) all other races, in SE Brazil, and thought in HBW possibly to represent a separate species, while a recent phylogeographic analysis based on mitochondrial and nuclear markers that also took into account differences in song and, to a lesser extent, in plumage coloration suggested that as many as three species might be involved, the rubra group over the rest of South America and rubicoides in Middle America, as well as the nominate#R. However, differences between the racial groups are not always clear-cut or pronounced. Several of the numerous races are weakly differentiated and seem barely worth recognizing. Seventeen subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. r. holobrunnea Griscom, 1930 – E Mexico from S Tamaulipas S to N Oaxaca.
  • H. r. rosea (Nelson, 1898) – Pacific slope of SW Mexico from Nayarit and Jalisco S to Guerrero.
  • H. r. affinis (Nelson, 1897) – SW Oaxaca (S Mexico).
  • H. r. nelsoni (Ridgway, 1902) – SE Mexico (Yucatán Peninsula).
  • H. r. rubicoides (Lafresnaye, 1844) – Northern Ant-tanager – S Mexico (from Puebla, E Oaxaca, Tabasco and Chiapas), Guatemala and Belize S to Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
  • H. r. alfaroana (Ridgway, 1905) – NW Costa Rica (Guanacaste).
  • H. r. vinacea (Lawrence, 1867) – Pacific slope of Costa Rica (S from Nicoya Peninsula) and Panama (E to Darién).
  • H. r. perijana Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1957 – Sierra de Perijá region of Venezuela–Colombia.
  • H. r. coccinea (Todd, 1919) – base of Andes in W Venezuela (S from Lara) and adjacent NC Colombia (Norte de Santander, NE Boyacá, W Casanare); also recorded in NW Colombia (Córdoba).
  • H. r. crissalis Parkes, 1969 – NE Venezuela (mountains of Anzoátegui and Sucre).
  • H. r. rubra (Vieillot, 1819) – Scarlet-throated Ant-tanager – Trinidad.
  • H. r. mesopotamia Parkes, 1969 – E Venezuela (R Yuruán region of E Bolívar).
  • H. r. rhodinolaema (Salvin & Godman, 1883) – Colombia E of Andes (from Meta S to Caquetá), E Ecuador, NE Peru and NW Brazil.
  • H. r. peruviana (Taczanowski, 1884) – E Peru, W Brazil and N Bolivia (S to Santa Cruz).
  • H. r. hesterna Griscom & Greenway, 1937 – C Brazil S of R Amazon (E to R Xingu, S to N Mato Grosso).
  • H. r. bahiae Hellmayr, 1936 – NE & CE Brazil (Alagoas; SE Bahia).
  • H. r. rubica (Vieillot, 1817) – Red Ant-tanager – SE Brazil (from S Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo S to Rio Grande do Sul), E Paraguay and NE Argentina (Misiones).
  • Descriptive notes

    17–19 cm; male 27·7–42·9 g, female 22·5–37 g. Mostly brownish-red ant-tanager with strong bill and no obvious crest. Male nominate race is mainly dull brownish-red above,... read more


    Has diverse array of vocalizations, some harsh, some exceptionally melodic. In Middle America three... read more


    Leafy undergrowth and lower levels of humid terra firme forest and tall second growth;... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food primarily arthropods; small amount of fruit, including Miconia and Solanum berries. Of 24 stomachs examined, two... read more


    Breeding reported May and Jun (less often as early as Feb) in Mexico, Apr–Jul in Belize, Mar in Guatemala and Feb–Jun in Costa Rica; Feb–... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread, and uncommon to locally fairly common. Occurs in a large number of parks and reserves throughout its large range, and its... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hilty, S. (2019). Red-crowned Ant-tanager (Habia rubica). 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).