Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Rufous-chested Tanager (Thlypopsis ornata)


French: Tangara à flancs roux German: Zimtbrusttangare Spanish: Tangara pechicanela

Nemosia ornata

P. L. Sclater

, 1859,

Pallatanga, Ecuador


Sister to T. pectoralis; the two have been considered conspecific, but exhibit “levels of sequence divergence similar to what is expected between well-differentiated species”#R and in any case are locally sympatric in C Peru#R. Subespecific affinity of an old specimen from El Pun (E Carchi, N Ecuador) remains uncertain #R. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. o. ornata (P. L. Sclater, 1859) – W slope of C Andes in Colombia (from Puracé, in Cauca) S locally in Ecuador (both slopes, and locally on slopes above C valley).
  • T. o. media J. T. Zimmer, 1930 – E slope of Andes in extreme S Ecuador (Taraguacocha in El Oro, Loja and Zamora-Chinchipe) and Peru (S on W slope to Lima; locally E slope from Cajamarca S to Marañón Valley).
  • T. o. macropteryx Berlepsch & Stolzmann, 1896 – E slope of Andes in Peru (Junín; isolated records S to Cuzco).
  • Descriptive notes

    12–13 cm; 10–15 g. Small, thin-billed greyish tanager with rich rufous head and underparts. Male nominate race has entire head and throat to mid-breast, sides, flanks and... read more


    Song, infrequently heard (or not often recognized), is thin, high-pitched and apparently somewhat... read more


    Shrubby montane-forest borders, especially scrubby or drier secondary montane woodland, patches of... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects; six stomachs contained animal matter, including beetles (Coleoptera), spiders (Araneae) and a caterpillar. Single birds, pairs,... read more


    In Ecuador, egg-laying noted on 1st Mar, fledglings mid-Mar, and nest-building at end Apr, suggesting breeding season from at least end Feb... read more


    Apparently resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon and rather local. Local in Colombia, and in Ecuador apparently more numerous in S. Tolerates highly degraded second growth and scrub, even... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hilty, S. (2019). Rufous-chested Tanager (Thlypopsis ornata). 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).