Western Tanager

The western tanager, scientific name Piranga ludoviciana, is a brightly colored bird that belongs to the family Cardinalidae. This songbird is native to North America and stands out with its striking plumage of bright red, yellow, and black.

Basic Description

The western tanager measures about 7 inches in length with a wingspan averaging around 10 inches. The male has a brilliant red head and body with distinctive yellow wings, while the female has an olive-green back and tail feathers along with bright yellow underparts. Both males and females have bold white wingbars.

Where To Find This Bird

The western tanager can be found during breeding season from Alaska down through the Rocky Mountains to Mexico. During migration periods they may appear in other areas as well such as southeastern Canada or Central America.


These birds prefer coniferous forests for breeding during their summer months but will also inhabit mixed deciduous-coniferous forests or even pinyon-juniper woodlands outside of breeding season. They are generally found at higher elevations over lower ones.


The Western Tanager feeds mostly on insects such as beetles, wasps, ants, bees and caterpillars but also consumes fruits like cherries when available.

Cool Facts

One interesting fact about Western Tanagers is that they actually migrate south for winter by flying nonstop across the Gulf of Mexico – which is pretty impressive for such small birds! Their beautiful colors have made them popular backyard visitors especially during springtime migration period. If you’re lucky enough to spot one just remember not to get too close because these little guys are still wild animals!

In conclusion, if you live near their habitat or plan on visiting any National Parks within this region pay attention for sightings of these beautiful birds. And if you’re ever fortunate enough to see them up close take time out admire their stunning color combination!