Interesting tanager


Kay Loughman
 

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.

<http://www.nhwildlife.net/album/New/slides/WETA-1832c-72.html>
<http://www.nhwildlife.net/album/New/slides/WETA-1835c-72.html>

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


Joe Morlan
 

Kay,

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

http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/z91-325

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.

http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1676/11-161.1


On Tue, 6 Sep 2016 15:45:36 -0700, "Kay Loughman kayloughman@earthlink.net
[EBB_Sightings]" <EBB_Sightings-noreply@yahoogroups.com> 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.

<http://www.nhwildlife.net/album/New/slides/WETA-1832c-72.html>
<http://www.nhwildlife.net/album/New/slides/WETA-1835c-72.html>

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


hoggsville
 

It's odd that there is red anywhere other than the head. Hybrid Summer x Western?

Jack Hayden
Albany

On Tue, Sep 6, 2016 at 5:36 PM, Joseph Morlan jmorlan@... [EBB_Sightings] <EBB_Sightings-noreply@...> wrote:
 

Kay,

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

http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/z91-325

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.

http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1676/11-161.1

On Tue, 6 Sep 2016 15:45:36 -0700, "Kay Loughman kayloughman@...
[EBB_Sightings]" <EBB_Sightings-noreply@yahoogroups.com> 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.
>
><http://www.nhwildlife.net/album/New/slides/WETA-1832c-72.html>
><http://www.nhwildlife.net/album/New/slides/WETA-1835c-72.html>
>
>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



Kay Loughman
 

Thanks to all of you who commented on the unusual tanager that visited my yard yesterday morning. Several people suggested a hybrid, with various combinations of Western, Summer, and Flame-colored; Western x Summer was mentioned most frequently. I too had considered the likelihood of a hybrid, but now have another possibility:

My husband, a retired geneticist, suggests the somewhat mottled plumage is likely the result of genetic mosaicism, similar to the process that created the showy leucistic American Robin that showed up in our neighborhood in March 2014: <http://www.nhwildlife.net/album/Unique/slides/AMRO-6837-72-RL.html> and similar (but NOT identical) to the process that creates genetic anomalies (e.g calico cats) in mammals.

A genetic mosaic would allow for those widely-distributed orange feathers (where we might expect yellow) without the need for us to determine family history.

Kay Loughman



Kay Loughman wrote on 9/6/2016 3:45 PM:

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.

<http://www.nhwildlife.net/album/New/slides/WETA-1832c-72.html>
<http://www.nhwildlife.net/album/New/slides/WETA-1835c-72.html>

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