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Hepatic Tanager

“Hepatic” is the Greek word for liver, which is a very red organ.  Hepatic Tanagers are named for their brilliant red color.

We haven’t had a tanager on this blog for years.  And in that case I only got pictures of the female so this is my first post of a bright looking tanager.

We saw the tanager at a feeder provided by the Santa Rita Lodge in Madera Canyon.  I wish the local birds were as excited about my suet feeder as this guy.

photo by Jon

Birds always look better in a natural environment, don’t they?  The color in this picture was not enhanced – he’s actually that bright!

Oddly enough, these tanagers are not part of the tanager family.  They are members of the cardinal family because of their plumage and vocalizations.  I didn’t hear any vocalizations, but the feathers are very similar to cardinals.


I would say that the beak is also similar, but the tanager family has large beaks too.

4 Responses to “Hepatic Tanager”

  1. kathiesbirds says:

    So, you are down in Madera Canyon, my old stomping grounds! I was just looking at some of my photos from there today. Sure do miss those Acorn woodpeckers and the Townsend’s Warblers! Sounds like you are having fun!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    The Acorn Woodpeckers are great – they look like crazy clowns! We stayed in Patagonia, visited Madera Canyon, Miller’s Canyon, Ash Canyon (Mary Jo wasn’t home but we did look at her hummingbirds) and spent half a day at Patagonia Lake. It’s such a beautiful area, I can’t wait to go back. Birding in Utah is a lot more difficult.

  3. Tiffany says:

    Oooh, pretty! Such a sleek little fellow.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I do enjoy the brightly colored birds.