Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Blue-grey Tanager (Thraupis episcopus) - HBW 16, p. 191

French: Tangara évêque German: Bischofstangare Spanish: Tangara Azuleja
Other common names: Blue Tanager (when treated as conspecific with T. sayaca)

Taxonomy: Tanagra Episcopus Linnaeus, 1766, probably Cayenne, French Guiana.
Formerly known as T. virens, but present name (of same date) was formally awarded priority. Recent molecular-genetic data do not support monophyly of genus as currently constituted: six (including present species) of eight species sampled embedded with Tangara, a finding that makes genus Tangara paraphyletic. This species may form a superspecies with T. sayaca and T. glaucocolpa; replaced by former S of Amazonia. Sometimes considered conspecific with one or both of those, but believed to differ vocally from T. sayaca and differs markedly from T. gla.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Tanagra Episcopus Linnaeus, 1766, probably Cayenne, French Guiana.
Formerly known as T. virens, but present name (of same date) was formally awarded priority. Recent molecular-genetic data do not support monophyly of genus as currently constituted: six (including present species) of eight species sampled embedded with Tangara, a finding that makes genus Tangara paraphyletic. This species may form a superspecies with T. sayaca and T. glaucocolpa; replaced by former S of Amazonia. Sometimes considered conspecific with one or both of those, but believed to differ vocally from T. sayaca and differs markedly from T. glaucocolpa in plumage, voice and habitat; extent, if any, to which race boliviana of T. sayaca overlaps with present species, with which it shares some plumage features (e.g. white on shoulder), in N Bolivia requires investigation. Some geographical variation within present species is significant, but several races only slightly different and seem barely worthy of recognition; review of the various races seems warranted. Race ehrenreichi long treated as synonymous with coelestis but now known to be quite distinct; instead, mediana might prove to be a junior synonym of ehrenreichi. Fourteen subspecies provisionally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • cana (Swainson, 1834) - SE Mexico (from extreme SE San Luis Potosí) S through Central America, including Pearl Is (off S Panama), to Colombia W of E Andes, Caribbean coast and N Venezuela (E to Sucre and Monagas).
  • caesitia Wetmore, 1959 - I Escudo de Veraguas (Bocas del Toro), off NW Panama.
  • cumatilis Wetmore, 1957 - Coiba I, off SW Panama.

     See all 14 subspecies
  • cana (Swainson, 1834) - SE Mexico (from extreme SE San Luis Potosí) S through Central America, including Pearl Is (off S Panama), to Colombia W of E Andes, Caribbean coast and N Venezuela (E to Sucre and Monagas).
  • caesitia Wetmore, 1959 - I Escudo de Veraguas (Bocas del Toro), off NW Panama.
  • cumatilis Wetmore, 1957 - Coiba I, off SW Panama.
  • nesophila Riley, 1912 - extreme NE Colombia, S & E Venezuela, and Trinidad.
  • berlepschi (de Dalmas, 1900) - Tobago.
  • quaesita Bangs & Noble, 1918 - SW Colombia (W Nariño) S on Pacific slope to NW Peru.
  • leucoptera (P. L. Sclater, 1886) - E slope of Andes in Colombia (Cundinamarca and Meta).
  • mediana J. T. Zimmer, 1944 - E Colombia, extreme S Venezuela (S Amazonas, S Bolívar) and N Brazil (E to R Jamundá, and S of Amazon between R Madeira and Tapajós) S to N Bolivia.
  • coelestis (Spix, 1825) - SE Colombia, W Brazil (E to R Negro and R Madeira) and NE Ecuador S to C Peru.
  • ehrenreichi Reichenow, 1915 - R Purús (NW Brazil).
  • episcopus (Linnaeus, 1766) - the Guianas, and N Brazil E of R Jamundá to NW Maranhão, and S to SE Pará and N Mato Grosso.
  • caerulea J. T. Zimmer, 1929 - SE Ecuador and N Peru (S to Huánuco).
  • major (Berlepsch & Stolzmann, 1896) - Chanchamayo Valley, in C Peru.
  • urubambae J. T. Zimmer, 1944 - Urubamba Valley and Amazonian drainage, in SE Peru.