Blue-Gray Tanager

ANIMAL:
Blue-Gray Tanager Thraupis episcopus

Type of Animal:
Songbird

Habitat:
Semiopen areas, open woodland, cultivated areas, gardens, forest edges, semiopen areas along roads/rivers, semiopen agricultural areas, semiopen urban parks, forest clearings, cities, towns, human settlements, forest borders, shrub clearings, plantations, tropical/subtropical heavily degraded former forest, tropical/subtropical moist lowland forest, dry savanna, tropical/subtropical moist shrubland

Location(s):
Ranges from S Mexico to N Bolivia, also occurs on Trinidad & Tobago. Introduced to Lima area of Peru & S Florida.  

Appearance:
Head/throat/belly light blue-gray w/ pale green hue, wings/tail bright blue, back darker blue, females less brilliant w/ more gray, juveniles duller than adults

Food/Diet:
Berries, fruit, arthropods/arthropod larvae/grubs, leaves, flowers, nectar, eggs, vegetables

Status in Wild:
Stable

Conservation:
Breeding in zoos, wildlife centers, & aviculture

Lifestyle:
Flocks of 2-8 birds

Additional Info:

Called:
Male: Cock
Female: Hen
Young: Chick
Group: Flock
 
Weight:
1.1-1.4 oz

Gestation:
2 weeks 

Life Span:
5 years in wild, 10 years in captivity

Height:
6.3-7.1 in

Body Length:
6.3-7.1 in

Tail Length:
2 in

Main predators are carnivorous/omnivorous mammals, predatory birds, snakes, & crocodilians.
 
Very common throughout range, often seen at bird feeders & comfortable around people.
 
Usually nest 10-66 ft above ground-most often in forks of small trees/tall shrubs/palm fronds/over branches.
 
Females lay 1-3 dark-marked whitish to gray-green eggs & often raise 2 clutches per breeding season.
 
Play important role in seed dispersal due to diet.
 
Sometimes seen in flocks w/ other bird species.
 
Both sexes build thick deep bowl-shaped nest w/ fine roots/moss/grass/ferns/leaves/other thin materials.
 
Song squeaky twitter, interspersed w/ tseee & tsuup call notes.
 
Spends a lot of time foraging on ground.
 
Active during the day (diurnal).
 
Sexually mature at 7.5-8 months old.
 
Chicks fledge at 2 weeks & weaned at a month but often stay w/ parents until 7.5 months.

Fun Fact(s):
Called “Blue Jean” on Trinidad & Tobago due to color. Besides being called Blue Jean, known in Guyana as Blue Saki.
 
Poem Beneath the Blue Saki Skies by Guyanese-born Dmitri Allcock refers to these birds.
 
Often catch insects in mid-air.
 
Nests sometimes parasitized by cowbirds. This leads to tanagers rearing own chicks as well as larger cowbird chicks.
Blue-gray Tanager, stock photo

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