Paradise Tanager: The Brilliant Bird of Many Colors

August 21, 2008 by  
Filed under Nature

Turquoise Tanager (Tangara mexicana), National...
Image via Wikipedia
The Paradise Tanager‘s scientific name is the Tangara Chilensis, and it is recognizable by its splendid bright colors. It is a medium sized song bird and it lives in the forests of South America. Its colors are like no other bird, with seven different shades all over its body which make it stand out amongst the trees. Its head is a bright, almost neon, green, and its belly is a dark, rich, sea green. The bird’s tail and wings tend to be tipped with a fantastic, bright yellow, and the lower end of its back is typically a dark, blood red. The Paradise Tanager’s shoulders are also a pitch black, and is often how bird watchers are able to quickly identify the species.

Both the female and male of this particular species are very similar in appearance, which makes it quite hard to tell them apart at first sight. If you wish to know the gender of one of these birds you will need to watch how it behaves. The male tends to sing more frequently, and obviously if you found one has laid eggs you know it must be the female! When mating, Tanagers prefer to set up their nest high up in the trees out of the reach of potential predators, and in a humid atmosphere – this helps their eggs develop well. A female bird will lay between two and three eggs at a time, and it will only be a matter of two weeks before they hatch.

Living all over South America, the Paradise Tanager tends to stay mostly in the Amazon Basin and the surrounding areas, including Brazil, Venezuela, Peru and of course Columbia. Strangely, the bird is not typically found in the Amazon’s south, only the north, and generally within the forest or at its more humid edges. It seems that the Tanager is most often found in the forest itself, and thrives best in this area. It is a very rare bird, and sadly is currently on a list of threatened species.

The size of the Paradise Tanager is roughly 13 to 15 cm in length, or around 6 to 8 inches – meaning that it may be kept as a pet bird if you own a large cage and can provide it with plenty of water. Because their natural habitat is in the Amazon, these birds should live on a diet of fresh and tropical fruits and nuts if they are being kept in captivity. You can feed them bananas, pears, figs and slice of orange. The bird will be happiest if it is also regularly offered a selection of small insects, including crickets, meal worms and fruit flies. If you take proper care of your pet it will be a life long friend, however they do require several hours of attention a day to remain healthy, so it is ill advised to keep, or especially breed, them in captivity.

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