Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Turquoise Tanager (Tangara mexicana)


French: Calliste diable-enrhumé German: Türkistangare Spanish: Tangara turquesa

Tanagra mexicana


, 1766,

Cayenne, French Guiana


See T. inornata. Usually considered conspecific with T. brasiliensis (which see). Proposed race lateralis (described from Apacy, on R Tapajós) is now generally considered an intergrade between nominate and boliviana; indeed, in recent study this form, vieilloti and media were all considered representatives of a “polymorphic population” and “a hybrid zone of considerable phenotypic instability” between nominate and boliviana#R. Four subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. m. vieilloti (P. L. Sclater, 1857) – Trinidad.
  • T. m. media (Berlepsch & E. J. O. Hartert, 1902) – E Colombia (Vichada) and NE & S Venezuela (Monagas, Sucre Delta Amacuro and, S of R Orinoco, Amazonas and Bolívar).
  • T. m. mexicana (Linnaeus, 1766) – the Guianas and Brazil (E to E Pará and S to C Mato Grosso).
  • T. m. boliviana (Bonaparte, 1851) – E Colombia (from W Meta and R Guaviare) E through Amazonian Brazil to Pará, W Tocantins and C Mato Grosso, S through E Ecuador and E Peru to N & NE Bolivia (Santa Cruz).
  • Descriptive notes

    14 cm, 26 g (brasiliensis); 12 cm, 17–23·5 g (other races). Small tanager with dark, mottled appearance and contrasting yellow belly. Nominate race has mid-crown to... read more


    Calls mainly rapid streams of high, chipping “tic” notes, often accelerating into trills,... read more


    Humid forest borders, broken second growth, lighter or disturbed forest, trees in clearings, along... read more

    Food and feeding

    Arthropods and fruits. Of four stomachs examined, three contained only vegetable matter and one only animal matter; additional contents... read more


    In E Colombia nests reported in Feb and Oct; season Apr–Oct in Trinidad and Feb–Apr and Aug in Suriname; recorded Nov in Pará, in Brazil.... read more


    Apparently resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widespread, and uncommon to locally common; small isolated population along coastal SE Brazil (brasiliensis). Found in many protected areas... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hilty, S. (2019). Turquoise Tanager (Tangara mexicana). 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).