White-lined Tanager

The White-lined Tanager (Tachyphonus rufus), is a resident breeder from Costa Rica south to northern Argentina. It occurs in semi-open areas including gardens. In Trinidad and Tobago they are commonly called “˜Parson’ (for the male), and “˜Singing Angel’. They are highly valued for their whistling ability. It also has feet adapted for perching.

Adult White-lined Tanagers are 7.25 inches long and weigh 1.2 ounces. They are long-tailed and with a mostly black stout pointed bill. The adult male is glossy black, apart from white underwing coverts and a small white patch on the upperwing. These white areas are noticeable in flight but otherwise rarely visible. Females and juveniles are entirely rufous in plumage, somewhat paler below.

These are restless but unwary birds which eat a wide variety of fruit, but especially epiphytes. They also take some nectar and insects, including beetles, ants and grasshoppers. They appear to be territorial, as only one nesting pair is usually seen in an area. The bulky cup nest is built in a tree or shrub, and the female incubates two or three brown-blotched cream eggs for 14-15 days.

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