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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Western Tanager -- Piranga ludoviciana

RANGE: Breeds from southeastern Alaska, northern British Columbia, southern Mackenzie, northern Alberta, and central Saskatchewan south to northern Baja California, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah, central and southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, and western Texas, and east to eastern Montana, western South Dakota, northwestern Nebraska, central Colorado, and central New Mexico. Winters from Baja California and central Mexico south to Central America.

STATUS: Common.

HABITAT: Generally inhabits relatively open, mature coniferous forests up to 10,000 feet in elevation. Breeds less frequently in mixed forests and in deciduous forests in the mountains, along rivers, or in gulches and canyons at lower elevations.

NEST: Builds a shallow, compact, saucer-shaped nest, saddled in a fork of a horizontal branch well out from the trunk. Usually locates nest in a coniferous tree.

FOOD: Consumes insects gleaned from foliage or branches or caught while hawking (about 82 percent of the diet) and fruits (about 18 percent).

REFERENCES: Beal 1907 in Bent 1958, Johnsgard 1979, Harrison 1979.

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