Western Tanager - Piranga ludoviciana

Western Tanager

Family: Thraupidae, Tanagers  

Description: 6-7 1/2" (15-19 cm). Adult male has brilliant red head, bright yellow body, with black back, wings, and tail. 2 wing bars; smaller uppermost bar yellow, lower one white. Female is yellow-green above, yellow below; wing bars similar to male's.
Habitat: Open coniferous forests.
Nesting: 3-5 bluish-green, speckled eggs in a frail, shallow saucer nest of woven rootlets, weed stalks, and bark strips, "saddled" in the fork of a horizontal branch of Douglas fir, spruce, pine, or occasionally oak, usually at a low elevation.
Range: Breeds from southern Alaska and Mackenzie southward. Winters in tropics.
Western Tanager Range Map
Voice: Song is robin-like in its short fluty phrases, rendered with a pause in between. The quality is much hoarser, however. Call is a dry pit-r-ick.
Discussion: In late spring and early summer the Western Tanager, first recorded on the Lewis and Clark expedition (1803-1806), feeds on insects, often like a flycatcher, from the high canopy. Later it feeds on berries and other small fruits.