Spotlight on Ohio Birds

Scarlet Tanager-Piranga olivacea

Family: Cardinalidae

Order: Passeriformes

Description: 7 1/2″ (19cm) In breeding plumage the male is a brilliant scarlet with black wings and tail. In non-breeding plumage, female and male are olive green, except the male whose wings and tail remain black.

Voice: A hurried, burry, repetitive warble, similar to a Robin’s. The call is an emphatic nasal chip-bang

Habitat: Mainly mature woodlands, especially Oak and Pine.

Nesting: 3 or 4 brown-spotted greenish eggs in a shallow nest of twigs and stems. Lined with grass and placed on a horizontal branch.


FYI’S: This bird could be difficult to spot as it forages for food slowly through the dense foliage high in the forest canopy.

During the Summer the male will start to show a patchwork plumage of red and green as they start to undergo the start of the molt.

The first Scarlet Tanagers start arriving in the Southern counties during Spring migration by about the 3rd week in April, and along Lake Erie by the first week in May. Most will depart during fall migration by the end of September and the beginning of October.

Male Scarlet Tanagers are easy to spot if the male continues to sing. Once the singing ceases, which is usually by the first half of July, they become very inconspicuous.

2 responses to “Spotlight on Ohio Birds

  1. A very photogenic bird. Come to think of it, the only time I remember seeing one was when they were singing.

  2. Great photo of a beautiful bird!

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