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Version 1.0

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Blue-necked Tanager Tangara cyanicollis

Shireen Alnqshabandi and Kevin J. Burns
Version: 1.0 — Published June 1, 2012


Geographic Variation

Seven subspecies of Tangara cyanicollis currently are recognized (Storer 1970, Hilty 2o11):

granadensis (Berlepsch 1884); type locality Bucaramanga and "Bogota", Colombia, restricted to "Bogota" by Hellmayr 1936: 124

Similar to caeuleocephala, but "humeral area and rump more silvery greenish, less golden, and the blue abdominal zone generally more extensive" (Hellmayr 1936: 124).

Occurs in Andes of Colombia: in the western and and central Andes, and on the west slope of the eastern Andes (Storer 1970)

hannahiae (Cassin 1864); type locality Merida Mountains, Venezuela

Occurs in the Andes of western Venezuela, and on the east slope of the eastern Andes of Colombia (Storer 1970)

Similar to granadensis with respect to the colors of the wing coverts, wing edgings, and throat color, but differs by "lacking every trace of the purplish blue abdominal area, the breast and belly being uniform black" (Hellmayr 1936: 125).

cyanopygia (Berlepsch and Taczanowski 1883); type locality Chimbo, Ecuador

Occurs in western Ecuador (Storer 1970)

Rump pale blue (the only subspecies of cyanicollis with a blue rump); additionally, "the lesser and greater upper wing coverts are greenish blue, only the median series being golden or brassy yellow; the blue of the abdomen is lighter, passing into greenish blue posteriorly and on under tail coverts" (Hellmayr 1936: 125-126).

caeruleocephala (Swainson 1838); type locality Peru ("doubtless [the] northern part of the country" according to Hellmayr 1936: 122)

Occurs from the Andes of Colombia (head of the Magdalena valley, the west slope of the eastern Andes from northeastern Boyacá south to southern Huila, and the east slope of the eastern Andes from eastern Cundinamarca south) through eastern Ecuador to northern Peru on the east slope of the Andes, south at least to southern San Martín (Storer 1970, Schulenberg et al. 2007). Intergrades with nominate cyanicollis in the upper Huallaga valley of Peru (Hellmayr 1936, Zimmer 1943).

Similar to nominate cyanicollis, but "blue of the head is darker, the forehead tinged with purplish blue, and middle of the throat purplish blue, this area being more or less contrasted with the pale blue lateral portion and jugular region" (Hellmayr 1936: 122).

cyanicollis (d'Orbigny and Lafresnaye 1837); type locality Yuracares, Bolivia

Occurs from central Peru in Huánuco south to eastern Bolivia (Storer 1970)

See Detailed Description.

melanogaster Cherrie and Reichenberger 1923; type locality Utiarity near Salto Bello, Pagagaio River, Matto Grosso, Brazil

Occurs from eastern Bolivia to southern Pará, Brazil (Storer 1970, Isler and Isler 1987, Marantz and Remsen 1994).

Similar to caeruleocephala, but differs by "the absence (or mere suggestion) of the blue abdominal zone and by having the rump strongly suffused with light blue instead of uniform silvery green" (Hellmayr 1936: 123). Differs from hannahiae by the "considerably darker blue crown with purplish blue forehead, pale blue suffusion of the rump, and much more golden or coppery humeral patch" (Hellmayr 1936: 123).

albotibialis Traylor 1950; type locality Veadeiros, Goyaz, Brazil

Known only from the type locality in Goiás, Brazil (Storer 1970)

"... differs from all other races in having the thighs and tibia white instead of black; in other characters it most nearly resembles T. c. granadensis ... it differs strikingly from the nearest geographical race, melanogaster, of southern Matto Grosso in having a blue rather than a black belly and more purple on the throat" (Traylor 1950).


Related Species

Blue-necked Tanager is classified in the genus Tangara, the largest genus of Neotropical birds. Tangara is divided into 13 species groups based on vocalizations, diet, geographic distributions, behavior, and appearance (Isler and Isler 1987). Of these 13 species groups, cyanicollis is classified in Isler and Isler's Group 10. Group 10 also includes Tangara larvata (Golden-hooded Tanager) and Tangara nigrocincta (Masked Tanager). These three species have blue or golden hoods, contrasting black mantles and breasts, as well as black lores that extend into an eye mask (Isler and Isler 1987). The three species were considered by Storer (1970) to form a superspecies. The monophyly of Group 10 has been confirmed with phylogenetic analyses of mitochondrial DNA sequence data (Burns and Naoki 2004, Sedano and Burns 2010). Burns and Naoki (2004) found that larvata was the sister taxon to cyanicollis, while Sedano and Burns (2010) instead reported that nigrocincta was sister to cyanicollis. Thus, relationships among the three species within this group are unclear. Burns and Naoki (2004) included two individuals of T. cyanicollis, one from the east and one from the west slope of the Andes. These two individuals displayed 1.8% sequence divergence, an amount of divergence that is slightly higher than the typical amount of mtDNA divergence seen within species.

Recommended Citation

Alnqshabandi, S. and K. J. Burns (2012). Blue-necked Tanager (Tangara cyanicollis), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.blntan1.01