Tanagers, Cardinals, Grosbeaks, Buntings

Hepatic Tanager

Piranga flava

Male's song is a series of pleasing warbles (compare with Summer Tanager.) The song is not raspy like the Western or Scarlet Tanagers' songs; although it often includes a few slightly buzzy notes. This bird was moving through a woodland of small decidouous trees as it sang. (Chiricahua Mountains, Coronado National Forest, Arizona)
Habitat: In the US, typically found in open pine-oak forest.

Summer Tanager

Piranga rubra

Male's song is variable in length. It is reminiscent of the American Robin's song and is similar to the Scarlet Tanager's song but is less raspy. Here is a first spring male singing from high in a vine-covered cottonwood tree. (Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana.)
Habitat: Found near edges or gaps in open deciduous forest or pine-oak woods.

Scarlet Tanager

Piranga olivacea

Male sings in the forest canopy sounding something like a hoarse Robin. (Five songs of four birds, Albany and Schoharie Counties, New York.)
Habitat: Deciduous forest.

Western Tanager

Piranga ludoviciana

The male's song usually consists of 3-6 short phrases and is raspy like that of the Scarlet Tanager. This bird's delivery of the song was more rapid than some. It was singing from the very top of relatively isolated tree. Females sometimes sing, especially near fledglings or nests with young. (One male, Utah County, Utah.)
Habitat: A variety of types of open woodlands.

Northern Cardinal

Cardinalis cardinalis

The male's song is a familiar sound in suburban areas. Females also sing. (Four songs of one male, Albany County, New York.)
Habitat: Brush and bushes on edges of open areas, woods, suburban yards.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Pheucticus ludovicianus

Male's song is a slow, mellow, full-sounding warble. Roger Tory Peterson wrote that it sings like a robin with voice lessons. (Male, Albany County, New York.)
Habitat: Hardwood forests; mixed shrubs and trees.

Indigo Bunting

Passerina cyanea

The male's song varies among individuals, but usually contains three paired syllables per song (tew tew tse tse tsu tsu). Sometimes a bird adds an extra phrase at the end, or doesn't get the paired syllables quite right, as here. A male's chip call. The male sings from exposed perches on bushes, trees, telephone wires etc. (Songs of two males, Albany County, New York.)
Habitat: Brushy edges and small trees near open areas such as weedy fields and pastures; woodland clearings.


Spiza americana

The Dickcissel is named after its song which supposedly sounds like dick dick cissel (two short notes followed by trills). During the breeding season males sing incessantly from exposed perches. This bird sang about every 6 or 7 seconds for over twenty minutes, pausing only briefly to preen quickly. It flew away and then returned a short time later to continue its repetitious singing. Occasionally the bird altered its song slightly by dropping a dick or doubling a trill. The trill section can vary. (Schoharie County, New York.)
Habitat: Brushy or weedy fields, grain fields.