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: Scarlet Tanager has distinctly black wings and tail; female Scarlet Tanager has black wings and tail and lacks orange wash on underparts. Summer Tanager has gray bill and lacks gray cheek patch; female Summer Tanager has gray bill and lacks gray wash on flanks. Other juvenile tanagers lack black bills and streaked breasts.


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