Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana)

Western Tanager
Western Tanager, male - Morongo Valley, CA
© Tom Benson
Western Tanager
Western Tanager, female - Mojave Desert, CA
© Tom Benson

The Western Tanager is an uncommon spring and fall migrant on campus in April-May and August-September. It is a common spring and fall migrant in southern California, and a common breeder in the mountains during summer. On campus they are often seen in eucalyptus or bottle brush trees. In fact, a high count of 30 Western Tanagers, mostly in bottle brush trees along Sierra Drive, was recorded 26 Apr 2006.

High Count: 30, Average Count: 1-2

Male Western Tanagers can be identified in spring by their bright yellow underparts, black back, wings (with yellow and white wing bars), and tail, and bright red heads. Females and most fall birds have pale yellow underparts and heads, and grayish back, wings (with two white wing bars), and tail.


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