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Species Guide
A photo of a Golden-hooded Tanager (Stilpnia larvata)
Golden-hooded Tanager

Golden-hooded Tanager

Stilpnia larvata

The golden-hooded tanager, known scientifically as Stilpnia larvata, is a medium-sized passerine bird, a resident breeder that graces the forests from southern Mexico to western Ecuador. The adult of this species measures a modest 13 cm (5.1 in) in length and tips the scales at 19 g (0.67 oz).

Identification Tips

Males of this species boast a resplendent golden head, set off by a striking black eyemask, which is delicately edged with violet blue both above and below. The body's upperparts are a glossy black, save for the turquoise that adorns the shoulders, rump, and the wing and tail edgings. The flanks are a vibrant blue, while the central belly is a stark white. Females, on the other hand, display a greenish tinge on the head, occasionally speckled with black on the crown, and their underparts are predominantly white. The immature birds present a more subdued palette, with green heads, dark grey upperparts, off-white underparts, and only a hint of blue in their plumage.


The golden-hooded tanager makes its home from sea level up to 1,500 m (4,900 ft) in altitude, favoring the canopy of dense forests and semi-open areas. These birds are also known to frequent clearings, areas of second growth, and well-vegetated gardens.


This tanager's range extends from the southern reaches of Mexico down through to the western parts of Ecuador.


These birds are often seen in pairs or family groups, and may also join mixed-species feeding flocks. They exhibit a double-brooded breeding pattern, with the young from the first clutch assisting in feeding the second brood of chicks.

Song & Calls

The golden-hooded tanager communicates with a sharp "tsit" call and sings a rather tuneless, rattled series of tick sounds.


Nests are cup-shaped structures positioned in a tree fork or within a bunch of green bananas. The typical clutch consists of two white eggs, adorned with brown blotches.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the golden-hooded tanager includes small fruits, such as those of the Trophis racemosa (Moraceae), which are usually swallowed whole. Insects also form a part of their diet.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List has classified the golden-hooded tanager as Least Concern, indicating a stable population without significant threats at present.

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