Scarlet Tanager

Piranga olivacea




Cardinals & Piranga Tanagers (Cardinalidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Blue green with brown markings

Number of Eggs:

2 - 5

Incubation Days:

13 - 14

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

In deciduous tree., 20 - 30 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Grass, rootlets, forbs, twigs., Lined with fine grass, forbs, rootlets.





Scarlet Tanager: Medium-sized tanager with brilliant red body and black wings and tail. Bill is heavy and yellow-gray. Winter male has dull green upperparts and yellow-green underparts, often interspersed with red during molt. Female and juvenile resemble winter male but have duller wings and tails, and may show thin wing-bars.

Range and Habitat

Scarlet Tanager: Breeds from extreme south-central to southeastern Canada to east-central U.S. across central Arkansas to North Carolina. Can be seen further south during migration. Spends winters in northwestern South American tropical forests. Found in deciduous forests, pine-oak woodlands, parks, and suburban areas with large trees.

Breeding and Nesting

Scarlet Tanager: Two to five blue green eggs marked with brown are laid in a loose nest made of grass, rootlets, forbs, and twigs, lined with fine grass, forbs, and rootlets, and built on a horizontal branch well out from the trunk, 20 to 30 feet above the ground. Incubation ranges from 13 to 14 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Scarlet Tanager: Feeds on insects, fruits, berries, and buds. Forages high in trees, but may seek prey on the ground, or catch insects in the air.

Readily Eats

Safflower, Apple Slices, Suet, Millet, Peanut Kernels, Fruit


Scarlet Tanager: Song is a series of short phrases alternately high and low in pitch "querit, queer, query, querit, queer." Call is "chip-churr", with the first note higher in pitch.

Similar Species

Scarlet Tanager: Summer and Hepatic Tanagers are entirely red. Female Summer and Hepatic Tanagers have orange washes on underparts; female Hepatic also has dark bill.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X