Black-backed Tanager Tangara peruviana


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a complex distribution and undertakes some seasonal movements. Clarification of these will provide an improved understanding of its actual conservation status, but currently populations appear small and fragmented, and are probably declining rapidly in response to extensive habitat loss. It is consequently listed as Vulnerable.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 3,750-14,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
A rapid population decline is suspected owing to rates of habitat loss and fragmentation within its range.

Distribution and population

Tangara peruviana occurs in south-east Brazil in São Paulo, Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul (G. A. Bencke in litt. 2000, Bencke et al. 2003, Rosa and Agne 2010).  Further north, in Espírito Santo (Argel-de-Oliveira et al. 1993,  M. M. Argel-de-Oliveira in litt. 2000) and Rio de Janeiro it is primarily a non-breeding austral winter visitor in April-September, and there have also been two recent records in Bahia during this season. It is generally considered not rare within suitable habitat, with periodic local fluctuations in numbers owing to seasonal movements, at least in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Records from Pelotas in Rio Grande do Sul were thought to refer to the closely related T. preciosa, but well documented records from the state confirm T. peruviana (G. A. Bencke in litt. 2000, Bencke et al. 2003, Rosa and Agne 2010). However, records from Buenos Aires and Misiones, Argentina, can be more certainly attributed to T. preciosa.


It is largely restricted to coastal sand-plain forest and littoral scrub (restinga), but has also been found in secondary forest, these records perhaps relating to the presence of fruit-bearing plants, notably species of Melastomataceae (Moraes and Krul 1997). It also visits gardens and orchards of houses close to forested areas (A. De Luca and P. Develey in litt. 2007). Faecal analyses show a predominance of fruit (67% by frequency) in the diet, with some insects and spiders (Moraes and Krul 1997). Seasonal displacements occur in Rio de Janeiro, where its arrival coincides with the ripening of aroeira Schinus fruit. It is also more common in São Paulo during the winter months, and scattered birds appear inland at this time (E. O. Willis and Y. Oniki in litt. 1999). All records from Espírito Santo are from the austral winter (M. M. Argel-de-Oliveira in litt. 2000).


It is threatened by the rapid and widespread loss of restinga, largely to beach-front real-estate development and holiday centres. Suitable habitat in both Rio de Janeiro and Paraná is now largely destroyed (P. Martuscelli verbally 1994). Although it occasionally appears in the illegal cage-bird trade, but this relatively minor threat could eventually compound the problem of habitat loss.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
It is considered Vulnerable at the national level and protected by law in Brazil (MMA 2014). Small portions of this species's range occur in six protected areas, none of which is supported by effective protection.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to clarify the species's seasonal movements. Enforce the protection of coastal areas in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.


14.5 cm. Distinctively patterned tanager. Bluish-turquoise underparts with pale reddish-brown vent and undertail-coverts. Male has chestnut head and black back. Yellow-buff rump and wing-coverts. Dusky wings with greenish fringes. Female duller and greener, lacks black on back and has dull green wing-coverts. Similar spp. Male Chestnut-backed Tanager T. preciosa has chestnut back. Females are indistinguishable. Voice Thin, metallic whistle pzeee.


Text account compilers
Sharpe, C.J., Clay, R.P., Symes, A., Pople, R., Williams, R.

Martuscelli, P., Argel-de-Oliveira, M.M., Willis, E., De Luca, A., Oniki, Y., Bencke, G., Develey, P.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Tangara peruviana. Downloaded from on 01/04/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 01/04/2023.