Thraupid group[1]
Redcoat the Scarlet Tanager, Rosebreast the Grosbeak
A Scarlet Tanager and Rose-breasted Grosbeak, both members of this group and Cardinalidae.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Inopinaves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Passeri
Clade: Nine-primaried oscines
Epifamily: Icteroidae
Clade: Thraupid group

Fringillidae (sensu Sibley and Ahlquist)

Thraupid group is an informal grouping of Mitrospingidae, Cardinalidae and Thraupidae.[1] It is used to show the relationships between other nine-primaried oscines.


The thraupid group is mainly found in the Americas, from Canada to Argentina. Tanagers reach their greatest diversity in the New World tropics.[2]

Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Lazuli Bunting, Scarlet Tanager and Summer Tanager are all vagrants to the Palearctic.[3]

Species found in South America are nonmigrant.[4]


They range from small, such as the Bananaquit[5] and conebills[2], which are 4 in (10 cm), and the Painted and Indigo Buntings, which are 5 in (13 cm)[5]; to medium, such as cardinals, which are up to 9 in (23 cm)[6] as well as the Black-headed Saltator, which is 10 in (25 cm)[5] and the Magpie Tanager, which is 11 in (28 cm).[2]

Many species are colourful, such as the Tangara tanagers, they have diverse colour patterns.[2] They are mainly yellow, red, green and blue, with a few with metallic colours.[4]

Many species of tanager have stout bills, similar to finches.[5] Honeycreepers, however; have thin and decurved bills[5][4], while the flowerpiercers bills are slightly upturned with a hooked tip.[4] Grosbeaks have thick bills and powerful jaw muscles, used to crack open heavy seeds.[4] The Giant Conebill resembles a nuthatch, while most species of tanagers have a finchlike body shape, with a medium-sized tail.[4]

In most species of tanagers, there is no sexual dimorphism.[4] In cardinals, the males are more colourful than females during the breeding season.[4]

Behaviour and diet

The males of most species of

Tanagers generally eat fruit, but most species also eat insects and spiders.[5]


Euphonias and chlorophonias were once classified as tanagers. Many books may classify them as tanagers still.[4] According to Groth, (1998)[7]; Klicka et al., (2000)[8]; Yuri and Mindell, (2002)[9]; Zuccon et al., (2012)[10], they are embedded in Fringillidae.

For some decades, taxonomists have placed the Darwin's finches in the family Emberizidae along with the New World sparrows and Old World buntings (Sulloway 1982).[11] However, the Sibley–Ahlquist taxonomy puts Darwin's finches with the tanagers (Monroe and Sibley 1993)[12], and at least one recent work follows that example (Burns and Skutch 2003).[13] The American Ornithologists' Union, in its North American check-list, places the Cocos Finch in the Emberizidae but with an asterisk indicating that the placement is probably wrong (AOU 1998–2006)[14]; in its tentative South American check-list, the Galápagos species are incertae sedis, of uncertain place (Remsen et al. 2007).[15]



  1. ^ a b John H. Boyd III (November 17, 2011). "CORE PASSEROIDEA V: Cardinalidae and Thraupidae". TiF Checklist. Retrieved 18-08-2019.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d Hilty, Steven L.; Brown, William L.; Tudor, Guy (1986). A Guide to the Birds of Colombia. Princeton University Press. ISBN 069108372X. 
  3. ^ Arlott, Norman (2007). A Field Guide to the Birds of the Palearctic: Passerines. Harper Collins Publishers Ltd. ISBN 9780007147052. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Frances, Peter; et al. (2007). Bird: The Definitive Visual Guide. Dorling Kindersley Inc. ISBN 1564582957. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Garrigues, Richard and Dean, Robert (2007). The Birds of Costa Rica. Zona Tropical Publication. ISBN 9780801473739. 
  6. ^ Peterson, Roger Tory (1961). A Field Guide to Western Birds. Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN 039513692X. 
  7. ^ Groth, J.G. (1998), Molecular phylogenetics of Finches and Sparrows: Consequences of character state removal in Cytochrome b sequences, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 10, 377-390.
  8. ^ Klicka, J., K.P. Johnson and S.M. Lanyon (2000), New world nine-primaried oscine relationships: Constructing a mitochondrial DNA framework, Auk 117, 321-336.
  9. ^ Yuri, T. and D.P. Mindell (2002), Molecular phylogenetic analysis of Fringillidae, “New World nine-primaried oscines” (Aves: Passeriformes), Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 23, 229-243.
  10. ^ Zuccon, D., Prys-Jones, R., P.C. Rasmussen, and P.G.P. Ericson (2012), The phylogenetic relationships and generic limits of finches (Fringillidae), Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 62, 581-596.
  11. ^ Sulloway, Frank J. (1982), "The Beagle collections of Darwin's finches (Geospizinae)", Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History), Historical Series 43 (2): 49–94,, retrieved 2008-12-08 
  12. ^ Sibley, Charles G. (1993), A World Checklist of Birds, New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, ISBN 0-300-07083-7,, retrieved 2013-12-06  Monroe and Sibley consider the tanagers to be a tribe (Thraupini) of a big family Fringillidae rather than a family of their own (Thraupidae).
  13. ^ Burns, Kevin J.; Skutch, Alexander F. (2003), "Tanagers and Tanager-Finches", in Christopher Perrins, ed., The Firefly Encyclopedia of Birds, Firefly Books, pp. 629–631, ISBN 1-55297-777-3,, retrieved 2007-04-09  It is not clear whether this placement was made by Burns and Skutch or by Perrins.
  14. ^ Check-list of North American Birds, American Ornithologists' Union, 1998–2006, archived from the original on April 4, 2007,, retrieved 2007-04-09 
  15. ^ *Zimmer, J. (2007-04-05), A classification of the bird species of South America, American Ornithologists' Union,, retrieved 2007-04-09 

Hemipus picatus This article is part of Project Bird Taxonomy, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on every order, family and other taxonomic rank related to birds.
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