Hepatic Tanager

Piranga flava




Cardinals & Piranga Tanagers (Cardinalidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Blue green with brown markings

Number of Eggs:

3 - 5

Incubation Days:

13 - 14

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

On tree branch., 15-50 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Forbs, grasses, stems, and flower petals.





Hepatic Tanager: Large tanager, dark red to orange-red overall with gray wash on back and flanks. Cheek patch is gray-red. Bill is heavy, slightly hooked, and dark. Female has olive-green upperparts and yellow-orange underparts with gray wash on flanks. Juvenile has paler underparts, brown streaks, and buff-gray wing-bars.

Range and Habitat

Hepatic Tanager: This species breeds in the southwestern U.S. from California east to Texas and south into Mexico; it also occurs from Costa Rica south to South America. This species spends winters south of U.S.-Mexico border. Rarely, these birds may winter in southern California. Inhabits open pine and pine-oak forests.

Breeding and Nesting

Hepatic Tanager: Three to five blue green eggs with brown markings are laid in a shallow cup nest made of forbs, grass, stems, and flower petals, lined with fine grass, and built on a low horizontal branch, 15 to 50 feet above the ground. Eggs are incubated by the female for about 13 to 14 days.

Foraging and Feeding

Hepatic Tanager: Feeds mostly on insects in upper foliage of tall trees, where it gleans prey from branches, stems, and leaves. Sometimes catches insects in flight. Also eats fruits.


Hepatic Tanager: Song is a series of rich, slurred, whistled notes interspersed with short pauses. Call is an abrupt "chup."

Similar Species

Hepatic Tanager: Summer Tanager has gray bill and lacks gray cheek patch; female Summer Tanager has gray bill and lacks gray wash on flanks. 


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