SUMMER TANAGER


Piranga rubra


Description:

Although the Summer Tanager feeds on a wide variety of insects, such as cicadas, grasshoppers, ants, beetles, dragonflies, grubs, caterpillars, weevils and spiders, the bird is especially fond of bees. This tanager, aliased the "beebird", is a bee and wasp specialist. The bird will sieze a bee or wasp in midair and take it back to its perch, where it will remove the stinger by rubbing the bee or wasp against the perch. Not just adult bees and wasps are consumed, their larvae and pupae are also in the birds diet. In addition to insects, the Summer Tanager also consumes fruits and berries, especially during migration and non-breeding season. Summer Tanagers inhabit treetops.


Appearance:

General: 7 to 8 inches in length. Immature similar to female.

Male: Entirely red plumage, including wings and tail. Thick, pointed bill.

Female: Pale olive-green upperparts, pale orange-yellow underparts. Olive colored back. Gray wings and tail. Thick, pointed bill.


Habitat:

Open woodlands.


Nesting:

3-4 blue-green eggs with brown spots. The eggs have an 12 day incubation period. Fledging occurs in ? days. The nest is a shallow, flimsy open cup built near the end of a horizontal tree branch, 10-20 feet above the ground.


Observed Locations:

  • FRNC, Point Loma
  • UCSD, La Jolla
  • East Plaza Park, Coronado Island





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Copyright © Scott Streit, 2000.