Scarlet Tanager

(Piranga olivacea)

Conservation Status
Scarlet Tanager
Photo by Ramona Abrego
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

     
  NatureServe

N5B - Secure Breeding

SNRB - Unranked Breeding

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

 

 
     
 

Size

 
 

6¼ to 6¾ in length

9 to 117 16 wingspan

 
     
 

Voice

 
   
 

Four or five raspy notes, described by some as “a robin with a sore throat.”

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) has a prominent crown and a red bill. The male has a black mask and throat. The female is brownish-buff, not yellow.

Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra) male has red wings and tail, not black. The female has yellow wings, not olive.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Mature deciduous forests and mixed forests.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Migration

 
 

May to early October

 
     
 

Nesting

 
 

 

 
     
 

Food

 
 

Insects, spiders snales, and earthworms; also seasonal berries.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Occurrence

 
 

Uncommon migrant and breeder in the Eastern Broadleaf Forest Province and Laurentian Mixed Forest Province. Uncommon to rare migrant in the Prairie Parkland Province.

 
         
 

Maps

 
 

The Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union All Seasons Species Occurrence Map

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Class Aves (birds)  
 

Order

Passeriformes (perching birds)  
 

Family

Cardinalidae (cardinals and allies)  
 

Genus

Piranga (northern tanagers)  
       
 

The genus Piranga was formerly placed in the tanager family Thraupidae. Mitochondrial DNA data from several studies between 1997 and 2007 show that the genus is more closely related to cardinals (family Cardinalidae).

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

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Gregory Gilman

 
    Scarlet Tanager      
 

Ramona Abrego

 
    Scarlet Tanager   Scarlet Tanager  
           
    Scarlet Tanager      
 

Alicia Schmidt

 
    Scarlet Tanager   Scarlet Tanager  
 

Halsey

 
  We have had up to 10 males and 4 females for the past week. We are on the water in a wooded area. They have been feeding heavily on mealworms.   Scarlet Tanager  
        Scarlet Tanager  
 

Fr. Jason Houck

 
  ... scarlet tanager outside of our office meeting room at St. Mary’s on the East side of Lake Calhoun.   Scarlet Tanager  
 

Kayla Krizek

 
  Breeding male, just hanging out in our backyard right now! Stunning. Have never seen one in this area before.   Scarlet Tanager  
 

Micheddy

 
  It was hanging around in our residential neighborhood. My first time ever seeing it, stunning in real life.   Scarlet Tanager  
 

Niga-nab-kwe

 
  Seen here in the driftless area of southeastern Minnesota at the base of a heavily wooded bluff in a narrow valley with springs nearby. It alit on our deck for a few minutes and was feasting on the blood orange we had put out for the orioles. Breathtaking! What a treat to see it.   Scarlet Tanager  
 

J Pipek

 
 

What a beauty!

 
    Scarlet Tanager      
 

Bill Reynolds

 
 

Male Scarlet Tanager

First time ever to be able to watch a Scarlet Tanager in the wild! Ok not the wild, but in the backyard. He is a handsome fellow.

  Scarlet Tanager  
    Scarlet Tanager   Scarlet Tanager  
 

Dan W. Andree

 
 

They nest in these areas. Particularly areas that have large mature oaks and other mature deciduous trees. Have seen and filmed both male and female in these woodlands and a male molting in summer turning more like the female in color.

They arrive around mid-May to a little later in May and are gone by late Aug. I am sending a photo of an adult male I photographed this past Spring. I have seen them in mid-July-Aug. in the same region as well. That is how I know they are staying and not just passing through during migration. I re-sized the photo much smaller than the original. They are a beautiful bird.

  Scarlet Tanager  
 

Adult male

 
    Scarlet Tanager      
 

K Justice

 
  First time we've had one visit our waterfalls in the back yard. They're very watchful so we couldn't get too close.   Scarlet Tanager  
 

Wayne Rasmussen

 
    Scarlet Tanager      
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

 

 
           
           

 

Camera

 

     
 
Slideshows
 

Scarlet Tanager
Allen Chartier

  Scarlet Tanager  

Scarlet Tanager
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren

  Scarlet Tanager  
     

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

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Dan W. Andree

 
  Male & Female Scarlet Tanager.
Published on Feb 18, 2015
 
   
 
About

A brief look at the adult male and female Scarlet Tanager I filmed in Northwestern Minnesota. Note the interesting tic burr sound of the adult male.

   
       
  Scarlet Tanagers filmed by Dan W. Andree
Published on Feb 18, 2015
 
   
 
About

A brief introduction to the Scarlet Tanagers in their natural woodland habitat. The male makes an interesting kind of tic burr sound and also sings in kind of a raspy tone. A bird not as easy to come across in some areas as they prefer large tracts of woodlands. I am always surprised when I come across an adult male in spring. It almost looks like some kind tropical bird.

   
       
 
Other Videos
 
  Scarlet Tanager in Maine
WIld Bird Video Productions
 
   
 
About

Published on Jun 2, 2014

Found this male scarlet tanager on his territory early in the morning. They're definitely one of the toughest birds to expose for due to the bright red color. Pay no attention to the mud on his forehead! © 2014 Garth McElroy. www.featheredfotos.com

 
  Scarlet Tanager—Flame of Spring
Lang Elliott
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Apr 22, 2010

Here is a quickie edit of footage I got yesterday evening at Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky Not enough for a splendid portrait, but a good beginning. I am surprised at how good the footage looks where the background is white sky. Those would be throwaways in the still photography world.

© 2010 Lang Elliott
musicofnature.org

 
  Preening Scarlet Tanager
Mike McDowell
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on May 19, 2009

A male Scarlet Tanager preens shortly after bathing in the creek at Pheasant Branch Conservancy on May 19th, 2009.

 
  Piranga olivacea = SCARLET TANAGER
Rob Curtis
 
   
 
About

Published on Jun 3, 2015

Piranga olivacea = SCARLET TANAGER, males and females feeding in maple tree, at Montrose Point in Chicago, 5/6/2015..

Image gallery:
http://www.theearlybirder.com/tanager/scrl_tan/index.htm

 
  Scarlet Tanager in HD Minnesota
Freedom Guy
 
   
 
About

Published on May 22, 2013

Scarlet Tanager

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Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this bird.

 
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Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.
 
 

AmyW
5/14/2021

Location: Prior Lake, MN

Saw a male at my feeder this afternoon for the 1st time.

  Alicia Schmidt
5/18/2020

Location: Cottonwood, MN

Scarlet Tanager

 
  John Aronson
5/18/2020

Location: Taylors Falls Mn

  Kathryn
5/18/2020

Location: Backyard in Maplewood Mn

A pair of males was on our feeder eating the suet. We saw them twice in the afternoon. We have lived here 50 years and this is the first time we have seen these beautiful birds.

  Lisa
8/7/2019

Location: Flew to the shoulder of Hwy 107, north of Henriette, MN

  Mary
5/28/2019

Location: Woodville Cemetery,  Waseca MN

  Ramona Abrego
5/27/2019

Location: Becker County

Scarlet Tanager

 
  Genevieve Ryan
5/27/2019

Location: near Lake Minnetonka and Excelsior

First time seeing at my feeder. I put dried Mealworms in the mix.

  Joe
5/27/2019

Location: Minnehaha creek and Nokomis Avenue

2 sighted

  Laura Ault
5/28/2019

Location: Golden Valley, MN

Male was seen twice today in a pair of large pine trees

  Steve
5/28/2019

Location: Princeton, MN

He was on the Oriol feeder eating grape jelly.

  Rosey
5/28/2019

Location: Hamline-Midway intersection of Aldine and Van Buren

Male

  Rachel
5/28/2019

Location: Lindstrom

  Roberta T
5/25/2019

Location: Elmcrest Park in Ramsey MN

Also saw a Baltimore oriole and a goldfinch today at Elmcrest Park. As well as a hummingbird at my house a few miles away. Usually I don’t see the hummers until July or August.

  Ron Hammes
5/24/2019

Location: Forest Lake

Male spent 20 plus minutes at our black sunflower feeder and the ground.  Ate constantly.  Flew to edge of marsh and woodline, perched for a few minutes.  Lots of quality photos.

  Lynne Meyer
5/23/2019

Location: Apple Valley, Minnesota

Both ground feeding on the edge of our woods!  Lived here almost 30 years, first time seeing this species…now awaiting our yearly indigo bunting.

  Fr. Jason Houck
5/22/2019

Location: Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis, MN

... scarlet tanager outside of our office meeting room at St. Mary’s on the East side of Lake Calhoun.

Scarlet Tanager

 
  Kayla Krizek
5/21/2019

Location: Oakdale, MN

Breeding male, just hanging out in our backyard right now! Stunning. Have never seen one in this area before.

Scarlet Tanager

 
  Annie
5/21/2019

Location: Saint Cloud MN

 

  Micheddy
5/20/2019

Location: St. Michael, MN

It was hanging around in our residential neighborhood. My first time ever seeing it, stunning in real life.

Scarlet Tanager

 
  Halsey
5/19/2019

Location: New Brighton, MN

We have had up to 10 males and 4 females for the past week. We are on the water in a wooded area. They have been feeding heavily on mealworms.

Scarlet Tanager

 
  Sabrina
Jennings

5/19/2019

Location: sw Rochester

 

  Niga-nab-kwe
5/11/2019

Location: rural Winona County, 5 miles southwest of Winona and the Mississippi River

Seen here in the driftless area of southeastern Minnesota at the base of a heavily wooded bluff in a narrow valley with springs nearby. It alit on our deck for a few minutes and was feasting on the blood orange we had put out for the orioles. Breathtaking! What a treat to see it.

Scarlet Tanager

 
  J Pipek
5/21/2018

Location: Detroit Lakes, MN

What a beauty!

Scarlet Tanager

 
  Bill Reynolds
5/20/2018

Location: Pennington Co. MN

First time ever to be able to watch a Scarlet Tanager in the wild! Ok not the wild, but in the backyard. He is a handsome fellow.

Scarlet Tanager

 
  Dan W. Andree
6/2/2017

Location: Norman County, Mn.  Woodlands along the Wild Rice River and a tributary of the Wild Rice River.

They nest in these areas. Particularly areas that have large mature oaks and other mature deciduous trees. Have seen and filmed both male and female in these woodlands and a male molting in summer turning more like the female in color.

They arrive around mid-May to a little later in May and are gone by late Aug. I am sending a photo of an adult male I photographed this past Spring. I have seen them in mid-July-Aug. in the same region as well. That is how I know they are staying and not just passing through during migration. I re-sized the photo much smaller than the original. They are a beautiful bird.

Scarlet Tanager

 
  Dan W. Andree
6/2/2017

Location: Norman County, Mn. mature woodlands near a tributary to the Wild Rice River.

Adult male

Scarlet Tanager

 
  erjurgenson
5/21/2017

Location: akeley mn

Two in our front yard

  Jim Breza
7/4/2016

Location: Winona, MN

I have seen them last and this year by our pond in the backyard. We are in a heavily wooded valley and they stand right out when they are at the water's edge.

  K Justice
6/23/2016

Location: Elk River, MN

First time we've had one visit our waterfalls in the back yard. They're very watchful so we couldn't get too close.

Scarlet Tanager

 
  Wayne Rasmussen
5/30/2016

Location: Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Scarlet-tanager at Big Woods

Scarlet Tanager

 
  Gregory Gilman
5/18/2015

Location: Rochester, MN

Scarlet Tanager

 
   

 

   
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
   

 

 

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