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Species Guide

Lemon-spectacled Tanager

Chlorothraupis olivacea

The Lemon-spectacled Tanager, a small bird of the family Cardinalidae, is a creature of subtle beauty. Adults measure approximately 17 cm in length, cloaked in a rather unassuming plumage of dull olive-green. Yet, it is the distinctive yellow eye-ring that sets this species apart, a feature present in both males and females, lending them their common name.

Identification Tips

To identify the Lemon-spectacled Tanager, look for the male's darker shade of olive-green and the less yellow throat compared to its relatives. Females share a yellowish-olive underpart with their male counterparts. The key distinguishing mark is the yellow eye-ring, which is absent in similar species.


This tanager favors the understory of subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, as well as montane forests. It is also known to inhabit areas of heavily degraded former forest, demonstrating a degree of adaptability.


The Lemon-spectacled Tanager graces the western regions of Colombia and northwestern Ecuador with its presence. It is a bird that prefers lower elevations, typically residing below 400 meters, but can occasionally be found up to 800 meters above sea level.


Often seen in small groups of up to four, the Lemon-spectacled Tanager may also join mixed flocks, where it frequently assumes the role of leader. It is a vocal species, with a distinctive and loud "treu-treu-treu-treu" call that can be heard echoing through its forest home.

Song & Calls

The call of the Lemon-spectacled Tanager is a rapid and resonant "treu-treu-treu-treu," a sound that punctuates the dense foliage of its habitat and betrays its otherwise inconspicuous nature.

Diet and Feeding

This tanager's diet consists of insects complemented by some plant matter, a testament to its omnivorous feeding habits.

Conservation status

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified the Lemon-spectacled Tanager as "Least Concern." While the exact population numbers are not known and there may be a slight decline, the species benefits from a broad range and does not currently face significant threats that would warrant a higher risk category.

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Lemon-spectacled Tanagers on Birda

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Chris Bell
25 Oct 2022 - 7:00am

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