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Western Tanager
Western Tanager

Western Tanager

14 x 18"

The Western Tanager ranges in the Western part of the U. S., north into Canada and south to Central America.  It lives mostly in open coniferous and mixed woodlands and western forests.  It is not conspicuous and generally keeps out of view.  The male sings a short rasping song with a few short burry up and down phrases.  It may remind one of a hoarser American Robin.  Since they are hard to see despite their bright color, listen for a loud, hoarse song of two, three or four note phrases.  Watch the top of conifers closely as they forage in the treetops.  There is a rare plumage pigment in the red feathers called rhoduxanthin.  It is thought to come from the diet of insects that have acquired the pigment from plants.  The diet also consists of fruits and berries whenever they are available.