Neotropical Birds logo
Version 1.0

This is a historic version of this account.  Current version

 - Vermilion Tanager
 - Vermilion Tanager

Vermilion Tanager Calochaetes coccineus

Lila Batiari, Casey H. Richart, and Kevin J. Burns
Version: 1.0 — Published October 7, 2016

Sign in to see your badges

Welcome to Birds of the World!

You are currently viewing one of the free accounts available in our complimentary tour of Birds of the World. In this courtesy review, you can access all the life history articles and the multimedia galleries associated with this account.

For complete access to all accounts, a subscription is required.

Subscribe Now

Already a subscriber? Sign in

Vermilion Tanager is the only member of the monotypic genus Calochaetes and is one of the more sensational looking tanagers in South America. It is an uncommon species that occurs in middle-elevation montane forest, and forest borders along the eastern slope of the Andes from southern Colombia to southern Peru. It occurs in the zone between 1500 and 2000 meters, an elevation very rich with tanagers. Its stunning bright red and black plumage resembles a breeding male Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) in having a scarlet red body and black wings and tail. It differs by having a black mask and upper throat. Also, it somewhat resembles an arboreal version of Masked Crimson Tanager (Ramphocelus nigrogularis), a bird of the Amazon lowlands, but lacks the black back and belly of that species. Vermilion Tanager typically occurs in small groups of 2-5 individuals in the canopy, and almost always is associated with other tanagers in mixed species flocks. Vermilion Tanager is often seen foraging along mossy limbs, or probing into epiphytes and bromeliads, presumably for insects. Their vocalizations are mainly high-pitched chips, and are difficult to distinguish from other tanagers. Molecular phylogenetics indicates that Vermilion Tanager is closely related to the Iridosornis tanagers and other mountain tanagers, but Vermilion Tanager plumage differs greatly from these species. In Spanish the common name is Tangara Bermellón, in French the common name is Tangara Carmin, and in German the common name is Mennigtangare (Hilty 2011, de Juana et al. 2012). The generic epithet Calochaetes derives from the Greek words kalos, meaning beautiful, and khaitē, meaning mane, in reference to the intense red in this region; the specific epithet coccineus is Latin for scarlet colored (Jobling 2010).

Distribution of the Vermilion Tanager
  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the Vermilion Tanager

Recommended Citation

Batiari, L., C. H. Richart, and K. J. Burns (2016). Vermilion Tanager (Calochaetes coccineus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.vertan1.01