Western Tanager

western tanager
Female Western Tanager

Western Tanagers have a flaming orange-red head, yellow body, and black wings. Females have only red faces, and their bodies are yellow-green.

  • Piranga ludoviciana
  • Length: 6.3-7.5 in (16-19 cm)
  • Weight: 0.8-1.3 oz (24-36 g)


Western Tanagers breed in western US states and western Canada. They can be seen during migration in the east and south of this range. Winter is spent in Mexico and Central America.

Habitat And Diet

You can find Western Tanagers in open conifer forests but they stay hidden in the canopy, despite their bright coloring. Their numbers are actually increasing in the last forty years.

They eat mainly insects in summer, such as wasps and grasshoppers, and in the fall and winter, they also eat fruit.

Western Tanager Song:


Nests of Western Tanagers are built by females in open areas of trees and are made from large twigs and then roots and smaller twigs to weave them into a sturdy cup shape. The nest is lined with soft grass, pine needles, hair, and other plant materials.

They lay around four eggs which take around two weeks to hatch.

Attract Western Tanagers

Attract them with dried fruit, cut oranges, and other fruits from bird feeders.

Fun fact:

Western Tanagers’ red coloring probably comes from eating insects that produce a pigment that they cannot produce themselves.