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Version 1.0

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Puerto Rican Tanager Nesospingus speculiferus

Alcides L. Morales
Version: 1.0 — Published February 24, 2012


Distinguishing Characteristics

Adult Puerto Rican Tanagers are primarily olive brown above and white below, with pale brownish mottling on the breast and a conspicuous white wing spot at the base of the primaries. Immatures lack the white wing spot and have brownish underparts (Raffaele et al. 1998).

Similar Species

Female Puerto Rican Spindalis (Spindalis portoricensis), which have olive-brown upperparts and underparts that are dull whitish with gray streaks on the sides and flanks, are superficially similar to Puerto Rican Tanager. The female spindalis differs, however, in having an inconspicuous whitish eyebrow stripe, in having an evident whitish mustache stripe, in lacking the white wing spot, and is more extensively streaked below (Raffaele et al. 1998).

Detailed Description

Adult: Crown, nape, and sides of the head and neck (down to upper malar region) dusky olive-grayish (the crown, nape, and sides of the head less dusky); crown more or less distinctly streaked with blackish. Back, scapulars, rump, uppertail coverts and tail plain olive. Wing coverts and secondaries similar but slightly more grayish, especially the greater coverts; primaries dusky, edge with grayish olive or olive grayish, the sixth, fifth and fourth primaries with outer webs white at the base, showing beyond the primary coverts as a small spot. Underparts, including malar region, white, changing to light grayish olive on sides and flanks; chest more or less flecked with olive grayish; undertail coverts pale fulvous, with central sagittate markings of dusky olive or brownish. (This description is based on Ridgway 1902).

Immature: Similar to adult, but "lacks the wing spot and has brownish underparts" (Raffaele et al. 1998).


No data available.

Bare Parts

Iris: brown

Bill: maxilla brownish black, mandible whitish (male) or entirely brownish black (female)

Tarsi and toes: grayish


The following linear measurements are from live birds mist-netted in the Maricao State Forest:

wing chord: 84.7 mm, tail: 66.1 mm, tarsus: 27.3 mm, culmen: 16.0 mm, bill width: 7.8 mm, bill depth: 8.7 mm, gape width: 10.0 mm, bill gape: 19.7 mm (Fernández 1993).

Mass: mean 36.1 g (Fernández 1993); mean 35.2 g ± 2.7 g (range 28.7-40 g, n = 57; Arendt et al. 2004).

Recommended Citation

Morales, A. L. (2012). Puerto Rican Tanager (Nesospingus speculiferus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.purtan1.01