Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Saffron-crowned Tanager (Tangara xanthocephala)


French: Calliste à tête dorée German: Gelbkopftangare Spanish: Tangara coronigualda

C[allospiza]. xanthocephala


, 1844,

Vítoc [Valley], Junín, Peru


See T. chrysotis. Races moderately distinct, especially (not saffron-crowned) lamprotis; vocalizations perhaps worth study. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. x. venusta (P. L. Sclater, 1855) – W Venezuela (both slopes of Sierra de Perijá; Andes from S Lara S to S Táchira), Colombia (both slopes of W & C Andes, locally both slopes of E Andes, and Macarena Mts) and Ecuador (both slopes) S to N & C Peru (E slope of E Andes from Cajamarca S to N Pasco).
  • T. x. xanthocephala (Tschudi, 1844) – E slope of Andes in C Peru (S Pasco and Junín).
  • T. x. lamprotis (P. L. Sclater, 1851) – E slope in SE Peru (Ayacucho and Cuzco) S to Bolivia (to W Santa Cruz).
  • Descriptive notes

    13 cm; 15–23·6 g. Colourful Andean tanager with blue-green body and yellow to orange on head. Male nominate race has small black mask consisting of narrow black line over... read more


    Contact note during foraging a high “tsit”, when excited a rapid stream of “tsit” notes. Possible... read more


    Humid and wet mossy forest, along forest borders and in middle-aged and older second growth;... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly small fruits, including Miconia species, Cecropia and Morus, also some arthropods; regularly seen to take... read more


    Nest in Nov in Peru; birds in breeding condition in Mar–Jul in Colombia. Peru nest was 12 m up in clump of moss hanging from beneath branch... read more


    Resident. Some minor seasonal elevational movements possible.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common on E slope of Andes; rare to uncommon on W slope in Ecuador. Occurs in numerous protected areas, including Guaramacal and... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hilty, S. (2020). Saffron-crowned Tanager (Tangara xanthocephala). 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 21 February 2020).