Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Swallow Tanager (Tersina viridis)


French: Tersine hirondelle German: Schwalbentangare Spanish: Tangara golondrina

Hirundo viridis


, 1811,

Sandwich Island; error = eastern Brazil


Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. v. grisescens Griscom, 1929 – Santa Marta Mts, in N Colombia.
  • T. v. occidentalis (P. L. Sclater, 1855) – E Panama (Darién), Colombia (except Santa Marta Mts), N Venezuela, Trinidad, the Guianas, W & E Ecuador, N & E Peru, N & W Brazil, NW & E Bolivia (except extreme SE) and NW Argentina.
  • T. v. viridis (Illiger, 1811) – E & S Brazil (from Rio Grande do Norte, Bahia, Goiás and S Mato Grosso S to Rio Grande do Sul), NE Bolivia, Paraguay and NE Argentina (Misiones).
  • Descriptive notes

    14–15 cm; 25·9–35 g. Short-tailed tanager with wide flat bill and short legs. Male nominate race has base of forehead, lores, ocular area (to just... read more


    Often heard call a high, slightly blurred or buzzy and metallic “tza-link” or “tz... read more


    Dry, moist and humid forest borders, older second-growth woodland, shade trees over coffee, and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruits and arthropods; proportions of fruit and insect matter in diet believed to vary seasonally. Feeds heavily on fruit, especially fat-... read more


    Season mainly Feb–Jun in Colombia and Apr–May in Venezuela; in Brazil, Sept–Oct in Minas Gerais and various localities in... read more


    Resident and short-distance migrant, possibly also nomadic. Local and seasonal in many regions,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread but local; in some areas seasonally common, although numbers highly variable. Possibly only a non-breeding visitor in E... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hilty, S. (2019). Swallow Tanager (Tersina viridis). 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).