Tanager family (Thraupidae)
Medium-sized tanager, 6 ½” long. Male (right in image) – uniformly bright rose-red head and body. Female (left in image) – yellowish below, brownish-yellow above, not as green as Scarlet Tanager female.
Dry open forests
Shallow saucer-shaped nest built on a horizontal limb, usually 20 to 30 feet above the ground. Eggs are pale blue to pale green, variously marked with brown spots. Clutch size – 3 to 4 eggs.
Song is a series of whistled phrases, like the American Robin’s, but phrases are on one pitch with the same phrase repeated over and over. Call is a distinct “chik-e-tuk chik-e-tuk”, descending in pitch during the call. Their call is heard more often than their song.
Piranga, a native name for a South American bird; rubra, Latin for “red”. Tanager, from tanagara, for “a bird” in Tupi, a South American language. “Summer” to differentiate it from the Northern Cardinal, a year-round resident.
In the Nature Park:
Neotropical migrant. Occurs in more open forests than the Scarlet Tanager. More abundant in southern Indiana than central Indiana. We have consistently heard a Summer Tanager calling near the parking lot at the main entrance to the Nature Park.