Summer Tanager

Piranga rubra




Cardinals & Piranga Tanagers (Cardinalidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Light blue or green with brown markings

Number of Eggs:

3 - 5

Incubation Days:

11 - 12

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

In tree., 10 - 35 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Bark pieces, grass, leaves, and plant fibers., Lined with fine grasses.





Summer Tanager: Large tanager, dark-red overall with a large, pale gray bill. Female has olive-green upperparts and variably orange-yellow underparts. Juvenile has faintly streaked brown upperparts, olive-brown wings and tail, and streaked, pale yellow underparts.

Range and Habitat

Summer Tanager: Breeds from southern California, Nevada, southern Iowa, across the Ohio River Valley to New Jersey, and south to the Gulf Coast and northern Mexico. Spends winters in tropics, from central Mexico south. Prefers open oak, hickory, and mixed oak-pine woodlands; also found in parks, orchards, and along roadsides.

Breeding and Nesting

Summer Tanager: Three to five brown marked, light blue or green eggs are laid in a nest made of grass, stems, and moss, lined with fine grass, and built 10 to 35 feet above the ground on a horizontal limb of an oak or pine. Incubation ranges from 11 to 12 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Summer Tanager: Feeds mainly on insects, including bees, wasps, caterpillars, grasshoppers, dragonflies, beetles, and cicadas. Forages in the tops of trees by gleaning from twigs and leaves; occasionally hovers at leaf clusters.

Readily Eats

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


Summer Tanager: Song is highly variable, but generally consists of five or more phrases each with two to four notes. Call is a harsh, descending "pituck" or "tipi-tuck-i-tuck."

Similar Species

Summer Tanager: Male and female Hepatic Tanagers have dark bills and cheek patches.


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