Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Sayaca Tanager (Tangara sayaca)


French: Tangara sayaca German: Sayacatangare Spanish: Tangara sayaca

Tanagra Sayaca


, 1766,

possibly Pernambuco, Brazil


See T. episcopus, with which sometimes considered conspecific; reported vocal differences require confirmation. Race beniensis shares some plumage features and could therefore belong with T. episcopus, but in several other ways it is closer to present species; overlap, if any, with T. episcopus in N Bolivia requires investigation. With merging of Thraupis and Tangara, subspecies name boliviana becomes preoccupied; recently replaced by new name beniensis#R. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. s. beniensis A. Elliott, 2016 – N Bolivia (La Paz, Beni).
  • T. s. obscura (Naumburg, 1924) – C & S Bolivia S to W Argentina (S to Tucumán, Córdoba and Santa Fe); sight records in SE Peru could, if verified, refer to this race.
  • T. s. sayaca (Linnaeus, 1766) – E & S Brazil (Mato Grosso E to Maranhão and Ceará, S to Rio Grande do Sul), Paraguay, NE Argentina (S to Buenos Aires) and Uruguay.
  • Descriptive notes

    16–17 cm; c. 28–34 g. A pale grey and blue tanager with rather short, fairly thick bill. Nominate race has head and upperparts uniformly dull grey, slightly... read more


    Song a high, squeaky and variable series of short, choppy phrases; songs complex, and may vary... read more


    Wide range of dry to humid and mostly open or semi-open habitats, including light woodland, savanna... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruits, seeds, also buds and parts of tender leaves; some arthropods. Recording as eating 36 species of fruit in SE Brazil, and reported as... read more


    Breeding dates mainly Oct–Dec in SC Brazil (Minas Gerais and Mato Grosso) and Paraguay, more widely scattered elsewhere, e.g. Sept... read more


    Partially migratory in S Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul) and in Uruguay, Paraguay and most or all of... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widespread and common to locally abundant. Occurs in many protected areas and utilizes a wide range of second-growth and disturbed habitats, both... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hilty, S. (2019). Sayaca Tanager (Tangara sayaca). 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 19 May 2019).