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Fawn-breasted Tanager Pipraeidea melanonota

Kim Gonzales, Casey H. Richart, and Kevin J. Burns
Version: 1.0 — Published August 14, 2015


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Distribution in the Americas

Fawn-breasted Tanager occurs in western South America, primarily in montane areas, from Venezuela south to northwestern Argentina, and also occurs from southern Brazil south to northeastern Argentina. Fawn-breasted Tanager occurs in the coastal cordillera of Venezuela, and on a few of the tepuis in southern Venezuela (Cero Yavi, Amazonas, and in the Sierra Parima on the Amazonas/Bolívar/Brazil border). It also occurs in the Andes of Venezuela, and from there south through the Andes to northwestern Argentina. It occurs in all three cordilleras in Colombia, although on the Pacific slope it is present only in Valle and Nariño (Hilty and Brown 1986). It is present on both slopes of the Andes of Ecuador and Peru, south to the department of Lima (Peru) (Koepcke 1970, Ridgely and Greenfield 2001, Schulenberg et al. 2010); it also is present in some intermontane valleys in Ecuador and Peru (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001, Schulenberg et al. 2010). The distribution continues south along the east slope of the Andes through Bolivia to Argentina. In southern South America, the nominate subspecies occurs from southwestern Mato Grosso and southern Bahia, Brazil, south to eastern Paraguay, northeastern Argentina, and southern Uruguay (Hilty 2011).

Broadly speaking, this tanager is resident. Though poorly documented, however, Fawn-breasted Tanagers apparently have nomadic or seasonal migratory movements. In the coastal cordillera of Venezuela, for example, it is present primarily from January-June, the presumed local breeding season (Hilty 2011), and at one site in the Anchicayá Valley, Valle, Colombia, it was present only from November-May (Hilty 1997). Scattered records from Amazonian Peru, near the base of the Andes, may represent "lost" elevational or austral migrants (Schulenberg et al. 2010). Belton (1985) reported that it was present throughout the year in Rio Grande do Sul, southern Brazil, but in São Paulo, Brazil, Willis and Oniki (2003) described it appearing in some regions (such as the interior, and on the coast) only in the nonbreeding season. Populations in the southern part of the range in Argentina may undertake seasonal movements to the north in the nonbreeding season (Hilty 2011), and it perhaps is only a seasonal migrant to Uruguay (Isler and Isler 1987).

Fawn-breasted Tanager occurs at 950-2100 m in southern Venezuela, but in the coastal cordillera and the Venezuelan Andes, its elevational range is 1500-2500 m (Hilty 2003). Generally its elevational range in Colombia is 1400-3000 m, but on the Pacific slope it occurs lower, down to 900 m (Hilty and Brown 1986). Its principal elevational range in Ecuador is 1000-2800 m (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001), and 1100-2900 m in Peru (Schulenberg et al. 2010). The reported elevational range in Bolivia is 300-3800 m (Hennessey et al. 2003), although its "core" elevational range presumably is narrower. The nominate subspecies occurs from sea level up to 2050 m (Isler and Isler 1987)/

Fawn-breasted Tanager occurs in the following Zoogeographic Regions: Northern Andes, Central Andes, Tepuis (table-top mountains or mesas), Central South America, Atlantic forest, and fertile lowland Pampas (Parker et al. 1996).

Distribution outside the Americas

None reported.


Broadly speaking, the primary habitat of Fawn-breasted Tanager is montane evergreen forest edge; additional habitats used by this species include tropical lowland evergreen forest edge and secondary forest (Parker et al. 1996). In the Andes, Fawn-breasted Tanager occupies upper tropical to lower temperate areas along forest edges and light woodland, overgrown pastures and grasslands with bushes, cultivated and semi-open areas with large trees, clearings with few trees, gardens and some other non-forest habitats (Miller 1963, Meyer de Schauensee 1966, Koepcke 1970, Hilty and Brown 1986, Isler and Isler 1987, Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, Ridgely and Greenfield 2001, Hilty 2011). In southern South America, nominate melanonota occupies similar habitats, such as forests, woodlands, riparian habitats, and sometimes partially open habitats (Belton 1985, Isler and Isler 1987, Willis and Oniki 2003).

Historical changes

Range expansions have been recorded for this species in Bolivia, but this may be simply better defining its distribution rather than a true range expansion (Remsen et al. 1987). Likewide, the range is not well-defined in southwest Brazil (Meyer de Schauensee 1966, Isler and Isler 1987). Recent records at low elevations (down to 400 m) in Venezuela may reflect colonization of areas newly opened due to deforestation that causes forest edges, a preference of this species (Hilty 2003).

Fossil history

None reported.

Distribution of the Fawn-breasted Tanager
  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the Fawn-breasted Tanager

Recommended Citation

Gonzales, K., C. H. Richart, and K. J. Burns (2015). Fawn-breasted Tanager (Pipraeidea melanonota), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.fabtan1.01