The Hepatic Tanager is a vibrant bird found in the southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central America. This species is relatively large, measuring around 7 inches in length and weighing approximately 1.3 ounces. Hepatic Tanagers are sexually dimorphic, with males being bright red in color, while females are a duller brownish-red.
One of the distinguishing field marks of the male Hepatic Tanager is its bright red plumage, which covers its entire body except for its wings and tail. Additionally, males have black wings with white wing bars, and a thick, pale-colored bill. Females, on the other hand, are a duller reddish-brown, with paler underparts, and dark wings with white wing bars. Both sexes have dark eyes and legs.
The Hepatic Tanager is a resident species in some areas of its range, such as parts of Mexico and Central America, but is also known to undertake seasonal migrations. In the United States, they typically migrate to the southern states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas for breeding in the summer, while they winter in Mexico and Central America. During migration, these birds can also be found in the western states of California, Nevada, and Utah.
Hepatic Tanagers are typically found in woodland habitats, particularly oak and pine-oak forests. They can also be found in riparian areas and in brushy areas with scattered trees. They are known for their relatively secretive behavior, often hiding in dense foliage, but can be spotted by their distinctive calls, which are a series of sharp, metallic-sounding notes.
Overall, the Hepatic Tanager is a beautiful and interesting bird species that can be seen in a range of habitats across its range. Its bright red plumage and distinctive calls make it a sought-after sighting for birders and nature enthusiasts.