Family Cardinals (Cardinalidae)

Least Concern

Red Tanager (Piranga flava)


French: Piranga orangé German: Tieflandkardinal Spanish: Piranga bermeja
Other common names: Lowland Hepatic-tanager

S[altator]. Flavus


, 1822,



Treated as a separate species in HBW but subsequently kept lumped#R; however, differs from P. hepatica (which see) by its paler, brighter red of males above and below (1); yellower, less olive-toned underparts (notably breast and flanks) of females (1); song with the most complex-shaped notes, but with little variation, unlike other races (2); distinctive call with an upslurred ending vs a very sharp inverted V-shape (3)#R. Race macconnelli poorly differentiated from saira; review required. Four subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. f. macconnelli C. Chubb, 1921 – S Guyana and N Brazil (E Roraima) E to S Suriname (Sipaliwini); possibly also French Guiana.
  • P. f. saira (Spix, 1825) – E & S Brazil (both banks of R Amazon in Amapá and C Pará; and from C Maranhão and C Piauí S to E & S Mato Grosso and Rio Grande do Sul).
  • P. f. rosacea Todd, 1922 – E Bolivia (E Santa Cruz).
  • P. f. flava (Vieillot, 1822) – SE Bolivia (from Cochabamba and S Santa Cruz), Paraguay to N & C Argentina (S to Mendoza, Córdoba, N Buenos Aires) and Uruguay.
  • Descriptive notes

    18 cm; 30–40 g. Strong-billed tanager, overall lighter in colour than P. lutea. Male nominate race is mostly red to orange-red, somewhat tinged brownish above,... read more


    Song, in Argentina, described as a repeated “tschip-tschurr”, melodious but with little variation;... read more


    Deciduous and gallery forest, borders of Araucaria forest, eucalypt (Eucalyptus)... read more

    Food and feeding

    Variety of arthropod prey, including caterpillars and spiders (Araneae); also variety of berries and fruit, especially figs (Ficus... read more


    Breeding reported in Nov SE Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul) and Oct in Paraguay; two males in breeding condition in Aug and Oct in mountains of... read more


    Resident in most of range. S populations (SE Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina) migratory; in Córdoba (... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not assessed. Probably not globally threatened. Common to locally common, and widespread. Found in numerous parks and reserves, especially in Brazil. Occurs also in areas... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hilty, S. (2019). Red Tanager (Piranga flava). 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 August 2019).