Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

White-shouldered Tanager (Islerothraupis luctuosa)


French: Tangara à épaulettes blanches German: Weißschulter-Haubentangare Spanish: Tangara luctuosa

T[achyphonus]. luctuosus

d’Orbigny and Lafresnaye

, 1837,

Guarayos, Bolivia


Race nitidissima distinctive, differing in its yellow to dull orange central crown in male (3); greyish vs dark irides (1); white vs pale bluish-grey panel on lower mandible (1); slightly larger size (based on published evidence#R; allow 1); but seemingly not in voice, although more research desirable. Five subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • I. l. nitidissima (Salvin, 1870) – Puntarenas White-shouldered Tanager – Pacific coast of Costa Rica (San José) S to Panama (W Chiriquí).
  • I. l. axillaris (Lawrence, 1874) – Caribbean coast from N & E Honduras S to NW Panama (Bocas del Toro).
  • I. l. panamensis (Todd, 1917) – C Panama (from Coclé) E on both slopes to N Colombia and W Venezuela (Maracaibo region), and S on Pacific coast to W Ecuador and extreme NW Peru.
  • I. l. flaviventris (P. L. Sclater, 1856) – extreme NE Venezuela (Sucre) and Trinidad.
  • I. l. luctuosa (d’Orbigny & Lafresnaye, 1837) – Common White-shouldered Tanager – E base of Andes from Venezuela (Barinas) S to N & C Bolivia, and generally from SE Colombia, S & E Venezuela (S of R Orinoco, and in Delta Amacuro and Monagas), the Guianas and Amazonian Brazil E to W Maranhão, S to Mato Grosso and W Goiás).
  • Descriptive notes

    13–14 cm; 11·5–15 g. Thin-billed tanager. Male nominate race is almost entirely glossy black, with conspicuous white patch on shoulder (marginal, lesser and median upperwing-... read more


    Song a thin, high “seet-seet-seet” (sometimes 4 or more notes), 2 notes per second, sometimes in... read more


    In Central America and W & N of Andes found most often in tall older second growth and along... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, also small amounts of fruit. Of three stomachs examined, one contained only vegetable matter and two only animal matter, including... read more


    Following details from Trinidad. Breeding recorded in Apr, Jun and Sept; nest a deep open cup of dry grass, lined with fine fibres, placed... read more


    Apparently resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widespread and common to locally common. E of Andes found in many protected parks and reserves, including Voltzberg National Park (Suriname),... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hilty, S. (2019). White-shouldered Tanager (Islerothraupis luctuosa). 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).