What better bird to celebrate Valentine’s Day, a day of love, than this species hailing from the passionate country of Brazil? Consider our work in Brazilian reserves benefiting this pretty bird (“pássaro bonito”)—our valentine to you!
Known as the tiê-sangue (blood-tanager) in Portuguese, the stunning male Brazilian Tanager is a vivid scarlet-red; it’s also known as “ox-blood” and “fire-tanager.” Its plumage has a soft, velvety quality that soaks up light and gives it a richness rivaled only by North America’s Scarlet Tanager.
In fact, the Brazilian Tanager can be seen outside of Brazil, with some birds found in extreme northwest Argentina. The species is native to the threatened Atlantic Forest biome, made up of coastal "restingas," or specialized forests adapted to sandy, acidic, and nutrient-poor soils.
Fortunately, this tanager also thrives in degraded forests, coastal scrub, and suburban areas such as parks. It has not suffered from the massive deforestation throughout it range that has affected other, more sensitive Atlantic Forest species such as the critically endangered Stresemann’s Bristlefront and the endangered Banded Cotinga.
Brazilian Tanagers are frugivores, meaning their diet consists almost exclusively of fruits. Like other tanagers in their genus (Ramphocelus), the birds often actively defend food, holding their beaks open in aggression displays at fruiting trees, feeders, and other food sources. Their open cup nests, built by the female, are sometimes parasitized by the Shiny Cowbird.
Ensuring future generations have a chance to celebrate this bird, ABC and its partner Fundação Biodiversitas have acquired nearly 1,500 acres of Atlantic Forest habitat and are reforesting the areas with native trees and shrubs. With partners Instituto Uiraçu and Rainforest Trust, ABC recently supported the acquisition of two additional properties, adding about 237 acres to the Serra Bonita Reserve and preserving even more Atlantic Forest habitat.
In 2014, ABC will continue working to protect land in the Atlantic Forest, with plans to extend several Brazilian reserves even further.