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A photo of a Silver-beaked Tanager (Ramphocelus carbo), male
Silver-beaked Tanager, Male

Silver-beaked Tanager

Ramphocelus carbo

The Silver-beaked Tanager, known scientifically as Ramphocelus carbo, presents a striking figure in its South American habitat. Males of the species are resplendent in velvety crimson black, with a deep crimson throat and breast, creating a vivid contrast against the greenery. The female, in comparison, is more subdued with brownish upperparts and reddish-brown underparts. Both sexes are characterized by a distinctive bill; the male's lower mandible gleams with a silver sheen, while the female's bill is uniformly black.

Identification Tips

Adult Silver-beaked Tanagers measure approximately 18 centimeters in length and weigh around 25 grams. The male's bill is particularly noteworthy, with the lower mandible's silver coloration and the habit of pointing upwards during displays. Females are less conspicuous, lacking the male's bright colors but sharing the species' overall shape and bill structure.

Habitat

These tanagers favor light woodland and cultivated areas, where they can be found flitting among the foliage or perched conspicuously on branches.

Distribution

The Silver-beaked Tanager is a common and conspicuous resident breeder, with a range that extends from eastern Colombia and Venezuela, through to Paraguay and central Brazil, as well as the island of Trinidad.

Behaviour

These social birds often congregate in groups ranging from six to ten individuals. They exhibit a variety of behaviors, including a distinctive upward bill pointing during displays.

Song & Calls

The call of the Silver-beaked Tanager is a clear "cheeng," while its song is a slower, more deliberate "kick-wick," which can be heard emanating from the treetops.

Breeding

The species constructs a bulky cup nest typically situated in a bush. The normal clutch consists of two green-blue eggs adorned with black-brown blotches. The female incubates these eggs for a period of 11 to 13 days, with the chicks fledging a further 11 to 12 days later.

Similar Species

Variation in plumage among subspecies may lead to confusion with other tanagers, but the Silver-beaked Tanager's unique bill coloration and display behavior are key differentiators.

Diet and Feeding

A diet rich in fruit sustains the Silver-beaked Tanager, though they also partake in vines, nectar, short grass, and insects to supplement their nutritional intake.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List currently classifies the Silver-beaked Tanager as Least Concern, indicating a stable population without significant threats to its survival at this time.

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