Neotropical Birds logo
Version 1.0

This is a historic version of this account.  Current version


Puerto Rican Tanager Nesospingus speculiferus

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

Diet and Foraging


Feeds mainly on invertebrates such as insects, spiders, centipides, slugs and snails (Pérez-Rivera 1997). Also it has been reported to feed on lizards (Biaggi 1973). Puerto Rican Tanagers have been seen consuming Anolis evermani and Anolis krugii (Pérez-Rivera 1997). They also eat Eleutherodactylus tree frogs, from eggs to adults, which are abundant prey items found in its mountain habitat (Pérez-Rivera 1997). There are suspicions that it takes nestlings of small birds such as Puerto Rican Emerald (Chlorostribon maugeus), Black-whiskered Vireo (Vireo altiloquus), and the Puerto Rican Vireo (Vireo latimeri). Nest contents from these species have disappeared after tanagers moved around their nest site (Pérez-Rivera 1997). From 37 stomachs collected in March on El Yunque, and in May at Maricao, animal matter accounted for 59.87 %, and vegetable matter accounted for 40.13 % (Wetmore 1916).

Fruits are another important component in the diet of Puerto Rican Tanagers. The use of prefered plant species is strongly influenced by the seasonal abundance of fruits (Carlo et al. 2002). Birds fed on trumpet tree (Cecropia schreberiana) from February to May at two distinct study sites in north central Puerto Rico. At another site Clusia rosea was readily consumed from February to September (Carlo et al. 2002). Other fruiting plants included in the diet include species of Miconia, Phoradendron, Ficus, Guarea, Inga, Myrcine, and Schefflera (Carlo et al. 2002), Hirtella (Wunderle 1995), Coccoloba, Prestoea, Gonzalagunia, Palicourea, Adelia, Matayba, Marcgravia, Gomidesia, Mecranium, Micropholis, Rauvolfia, Citharexylon, Cestrum, Psychotria, Chioccoca, Neolaugeria, Podocarpus, and Cassia (Fernández 1993), and Lasiacis (S. Colón, personal communication).

Understory fruit gleaning accounted for 63% in its foraging behavior at a study site in Rio Chiquito, Luquillo Experimental Forest (Cruz 1987). Other foraging techniques were canopy foliage gleaning (10%), canopy wood gleaning (9%), canopy probing into wood (8%), canopy probing into foliage, including bromeliads (6%), and foliage gleaning (4%) (Cruz 1987). Most of the foraging is done in the forest understory (67%), followed by the canopy (33%) (Cruz 1987).

Foraging Behavior

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