Family Cardinals (Cardinalidae)

Least Concern

White-winged Tanager (Piranga leucoptera)


French: Piranga bifascié German: Weißbindenkardinal Spanish: Piranga aliblanca

Pyranga leucoptera


, 1840,

#R, Mexico


This species and P. erythrocephala have sometimes been placed in a separate genus, Spermagra, but recent DNA work does not support such treatment. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. l. leucoptera Trudeau, 1840 – highlands of E Mexico (from S Tamaulipas) S to Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras and NC Nicaragua.
  • P. l. latifasciata Ridgway, 1887 – highlands of Costa Rica and W Panama (E to Veraguas).
  • P. l. venezuelae J. T. Zimmer, 1947 – Andes of Colombia (except Nariño), and highlands of Venezuela (N & S of R Orinoco) and adjacent Guyana (Mt Roraima) and Brazil (on Uei-tepui).
  • P. l. ardens (Tschudi, 1844) – W slope of Andes in SW Colombia (Nariño) S to SW Ecuador; E slope from Ecuador and Peru S to Bolivia (to Chuquisaca).
  • Descriptive notes

    13 cm; 13–20 g. Small stout-billed Piranga with conspicuous white wingbars. Male nominate race is mainly bright red, with narrow black line across base of... read more


    Song a thin, wiry “e-seé-se-whéét”. In Mexico utters a stream of... read more


    In Mexico and N Central America occurs in pine–oak (PinusQuercus) associations... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruit, including melastome berries and Heliocarpus (Tiliaceae) seeds; probably also some insects. Pairs and groups of 3–6... read more


    A small cup nest 14 m up on mossy branch, built by female. No other information.



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon to fairly common locally in mature montane forest, and second growth and partly wooded areas. Found in numerous parks, reserves and other... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hilty, S. (2020). White-winged Tanager (Piranga leucoptera). 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 23 January 2020).