Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Rufous-headed Tanager (Hemithraupis ruficapilla)


French: Tangara à tête rousse German: Rostkappentangare Spanish: Tangara cabecirrufa

Nemosia ruficapilla


, 1818,

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


See H. guira. Races differ minimally, and species perhaps better treated as monotypic; review warranted. Two subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. r. bahiae J. T. Zimmer, 1947 – SE Bahia, in E Brazil.
  • H. r. ruficapilla (Vieillot, 1818) – SE Brazil from S Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo S to NE Rio Grande do Sul#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    13 cm; 11–13 g. Male nominate race has entire crown, side of head and throat rich deep reddish-chestnut, large patch behind ear-coverts and on side of neck bright... read more


    Song a rhythmic series of rapid, rattling “chit” notes slowing at end, “chit-t-t-... read more


    Forest borders, light woodland, second growth, plantations and shady parks; survives in remnant... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly small arthropods, also small quantities of fruit. Stomachs contained insects. Occurs in pairs, families and small groups, often with... read more


    Female carrying nest material into small hole (5 × 8 cm) in hanging clump of Tillandsia in Oct. No other information.



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally fairly common. Poorly known race bahiae known mostly from Bahia trade skins (provenance of which uncertain). Occurs in many national... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hilty, S. (2020). Rufous-headed Tanager (Hemithraupis ruficapilla). 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).