Ramphocelus bresilius
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Thraupidae
Genus: Ramphocelus
Desmarest, 1805

see species list

Ramphocelus is a Neotropical genus of birds of the tanager family. They have enlarged shiny whitish or bluish-grey lower mandibles, which are pointed upwards in display. However, this is greatly reduced in the females of most species. Males are black and red, orange or yellow, while females resemble a duller version of the males, or are brownish or greyish combined with dull red, orange or yellowish.

Ramphocelus tanagers are found in semi-open areas. The nest is a cup built by the female of plant materials such as moss, rootlets, and strips of large leaves like banana or Heliconia, and is often in a fairly open site in a tree. The female usually lays pale blue eggs, with grey, brown or lavender spots, and the young stay in the nest for only about 12 days.

The songs of this genus are repetitions of rich one- or two-syllable whistles

Ramphocelus tanagers hunt at forest edges or in second growth, taking insects in flight or picking them from leaves

File:Ramphocelus sanguinolentus.jpg


The Crimson-collared Tanager is sometimes placed in a genus of its own as Phlogothraupis sanguinolenta (Howell and Webb 1995), and a genetic study suggests that it is less closely related to the other Ramphocelus tanagers than they are to each other (Hackett 1996). Its closest relative is Masked Crimson Tanager.

The other species form two superspecies. One includes Crimson-backed, Huallaga, Silver-beaked and Brazilian Tanagers, and the other comprises Passerini's, Cherrie's and Flame-rumped Tanagers.

The subspecies icteronotus of the Flame-rumped Tanager is sometimes considered a separate species, the Lemon-rumped Tanager, R. icteronotus, and Passerini's and Cherrie's Tanager were formerly lumped as Scarlet-rumped Tanager, R. passerinii (a treatment some authorities still prefer).

Species in taxonomic order


  • ffrench, Richard (1991). A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago (2nd ed.). Comstock Publishing. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2. 
  • Hilty, Birds of Venezuela, ISBN 0-7136-6418-5
  • Morton, Isler & Isler, Tanagers ISBN 0-7136-5116-4
  • Stiles and Skutch, A guide to the birds of Costa Rica ISBN 0-8014-9600-4
  • Steve N. G. Howell and Sophie Webb (1995). A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-854012-4. 
  • S. J. Hackett (1996). "Molecular phylogenetics and biogeography of tanagers in the genus Ramphocelus (Aves)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 5 (2): 368–382. PMID 8728395. doi:10.1006/mpev.1996.0032. 
Eurasian Spoonbill This article is part of Project Bird Genera, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on each genus, including made-up genera.
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