Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Yellow-backed Tanager (Hemithraupis flavicollis)


French: Tangara à dos jaune German: Gelbbürzeltangare Spanish: Tangara gorjigualda

Nemosia flavicollis


, 1818,

Cayenne, French Guiana


Some races of present species only weakly defined and possibly not worthy of retention, e.g. insignis perhaps not distinct from melanoxantha; thorough review required. Eleven subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. f. ornata Nelson, 1912 – Pacific slope from extreme E Panama (E Darién) S to N Chocó, in Colombia.
  • H. f. albigularis (P. L. Sclater, 1855) – N Colombia from R Sinú E to middle Magdalena Valley in Antioquia and Santander.
  • H. f. peruana Bonaparte, 1851 – E of Andes in Colombia (from Meta) S through E Ecuador to Peru N of R Marañón and R Amazon (Amazonas and Loreto).
  • H. f. aurigularis Cherrie, 1916 – SE Colombia, S Venezuela (S of R Orinoco), and N Brazil (in upper R Uaupés and R Negro).
  • H. f. hellmayri Berlepsch, 1912 – SE Venezuela (E Bolívar) and W Guyana (Merume Mts).
  • H. f. flavicollis (Vieillot, 1818) – Suriname, French Guiana and NE Brazil (N of R Amazon).
  • H. f. obidensis Parkes & Humphrey, 1963 – N bank of lower R Amazon in Brazil.
  • H. f. sororia J. T. Zimmer, 1947 – N & E Peru S of R Marañón.
  • H. f. centralis (Hellmayr, 1907) – SE Peru, N & C Bolivia and SC Brazil (E to N Mato Grosso).
  • H. f. melanoxantha (M. H. C. Lichtenstein, 1823) – coastal E Brazil (Pernambuco and Bahia).
  • H. f. insignis (P. L. Sclater, 1856) – SE Brazil (Espírito Santo and Rio de Janeiro).
  • Descriptive notes

    13 cm; 11–15 g. Relatively slender-billed tanager. Male nominate race is mainly brownish-black above, with bright yellow lower back, rump and uppertail-coverts, longer... read more


    During foraging, often constantly repeats sharp, forceful and high-pitched “tsick” and “tsuk” and “... read more


    Found mainly in tall humid terra firme and, to lesser extent, in várzea forest;... read more

    Food and feeding

    Arthropods and fruit. Reported to eat fruit of melastomes, myrtle (Myrtaceae) and Urtica. In Peru, at least 30% of observed... read more


    In Colombia, pair building nest on 27th Sept in upper canopy on forested ridge at La Fiebre (middle Magdalena Valley), also ten birds in... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common. Has a large range that includes portions of lowland E Panama and adjacent N Colombia, as well as much of the Guianan region and... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hilty, S. (2020). Yellow-backed Tanager (Hemithraupis flavicollis). 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 27 February 2020).