Unveiling the Splendor of the Spangle-Cheeked Tanager: A Shimmering Jewel of the Avian World

In the dappled sunlight of its forest home, the Spangle-Cheeked Tanager emerges as a multi-faceted marvel, adorned in scintillating spangles that glitter like precious gems. This medium-sized passerine bird, measuring around 13 cm (5.1 inches) in length and weighing approximately 20 g (0.71 ounces), captivates observers with its intricate plumage and striking colors.


With a predominantly black head and upper body, the Spangle-Cheeked Tanager’s breast and upper areas share a similar hue, accentuated by mesmerizing blue scaling on the breast, sides of the face, and neck. A rufous crown adorns the top of its head, while its wings and tail are edged in shimmering blue, complemented by a green rump and cinnamon belly.


While males and females bear a striking resemblance, males boast more extensive blue scaling, adding an extra dimension of splendor to their appearance. Juvenile birds, on the other hand, exhibit a more subdued version of their male counterparts, lacking the crown patch and displaying less visible scaling.


Endemic to Costa Rica and Western Panama, the Spangle-Cheeked Tanager finds sanctuary in forests rich with epiphytes, favoring canopy habitats ranging from 1,200 to 3,000 m (3,900 to 9,800 ft) above sea level. They can also be spotted in semi-open areas, forest edges, and secondary growth, showcasing their adaptability to diverse environments.


During the breeding season, these remarkable birds construct cup-shaped nests nestled among tree forks or branches adorned with epiphytes. Lined with bromeliad leaves, the nests provide a cozy sanctuary for the laying of two eggs, ensuring the continuation of their species.


Despite habitat pressures and human encroachment, the Spangle-Cheeked Tanager is classified as of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. However, continued conservation efforts are essential to safeguarding its habitat and ensuring its long-term survival in the wild.




As we marvel at the splendor of the Spangle-Cheeked Tanager, we are reminded of the extraordinary diversity and beauty of the avian world. With its shimmering plumage and graceful presence, it stands as a testament to the wonders of nature, inspiring awe and reverence in all who encounter it.