Re: Interesting tanager

Joe Morlan


Interesting bird. Western Tanager males get their red color entirely from
rhodoxanthin as opposed to other species which get red from a variety of

Rhodoxanthin is acquired directly from plant food and has been attributed
as the cause for unusual red coloration in the Baltimore Oriole, Cedar
Waxwing and other species.

On Tue, 6 Sep 2016 15:45:36 -0700, "Kay Loughman
[EBB_Sightings]" <> wrote:

An unusual tanager spent two minutes (only) visiting one of the
coffeeberry plants in our yard today. I was set to call it Western
male, first fall, until I looked more closely at the photos I took. The
things I noticed were that the orangish feathers were scattered well
down the chest and onto the belly, flanks and upper tail coverts. Also,
the upper wing bar was decidedly orange. I know tanagers can vary quite
a bit in their coloration, but this is outside my experience.


This part of my north-facing hillside property barely gets any sun after
mid-August, so the photos are shadier than I'd like. (The upside is that
it takes the coffeeberries longer to ripen, so they're often available
to the birds later than plants in sunnier parts of the yard.)

Comments appreciated.

Kay Loughman
in the hills on the Berkeley/Oakland border

Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA

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