Seven-colored Tanager Tangara fastuosa


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a small range which is severely fragmented and declining, and a small population which is declining as a result of habitat loss and trapping (Collar et al. 1992). It consequently qualifies as Vulnerable. There have been several local extinctions and many sites are highly threatened.

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 and on-going population decline is suspected to be occurring, in line with rates of habitat loss and capture for the bird trade.

Distribution and population

Tangara fastuosa has been recorded at over 50 localities in Alagoas, Pernambuco and Paraíba, north-east Brazil, and has possibly been extirpated from several additional sites in these states. Surveys carried out from 1999 to 2001 located the species in a number of new sites (Silveira et al. 2003, Roda et al. 2003). Two additional localities in Rio Grande do Norte where the species was recently recorded (Capim Macio and Parque das Dunas Costeiras, and Baia Formosa) require more observations to eliminate the possibility of released cagebirds (Silveira et al. 2003). Its range is consequentially larger than previously estimated, but it is still probably less than 5,000 km2, given the small area of severely fragmented Atlantic forest remaining (Silveira et al. 2003).


It occurs in Atlantic forest and humid forest within interior Alagoas, Pernambuco and Paraíba (Silveira et al. 2003). However, the northernmost locality in Rio Grande do Norte is an area of cerrado known as tabuleiro, potentially broadening the species's known habitat preferences (Silveira et al. 2003). Nests are situated in dense mid-storey vegetation, usually in large bromeliads, indicating that it cannot use second growth without epiphytes (E. O. Willis in litt. 1999). It forages in the forest canopy and edge, but also occurs in 1-2 m high second growth (G. M. Kirwan in litt. 1999), gardens and orchards with bromeliad-laden trees, and is often seen in mixed-species flocks (Silveira et al. 2003). The diet includes seeds, fruit and small arthropods. It breeds in the austral spring and summer (October-March).


Heavy trapping for trade results from the high prices commanded by the species's exceptional plumage; illegal capture remains a threat (Pereira et al. 2014). There has been massive clearance of original Atlantic forest in north-east Brazil with just 2% remaining (Silveira et al. 2003), largely as a result of logging and conversion to sugarcane plantations and pastureland. None of the remaining forest fragments is larger than 4,000 ha, with most of this still subject to selective logging and poaching (Silveira et al. 2003). For example, forest at Murici reduced from 70 km2 in the 1970s, to a fragmented 30 km2 in 1999 (J. M. Goerck in litt. 1999). The site is severely threatened by fires spreading from adjacent plantations and further logging, with new roads evident in January 1999 (J. M. Goerck in litt. 1999, A. Whittaker in litt. 1999).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. Considered Vulnerable at the national level (Silveira and Straube 2008, MMA 2014), and protected under Brazilian law. It has been recorded in Dunas de Natal State Park (Silveira et al. 2003), Charles Darwin Ecological Refuge, Mata do Pau Ferro Ecological Park (Silveira et al. 2003), Serra dos Cavalos UFPE and Tapacurá Ecological Stations, and Saltinho and Pedra Talhada Biological Reserves. Significant areas are being reforested at Pedra Talhada, where protection is enforced by guards and apparently welcomed by local communities (A. Studer per A. Whittaker in litt. 1999). The recently decreed Murici Ecological Station is still ineffectively implemented and forest loss continues through pasture encroachment and charcoal production (Silveira et al. 2003). Captive birds have been confiscated and released into reserves, but this can only succeed if the protection of such areas is improved. Forestation schemes being undertaken to create new-forested areas along rivers and on steep slopes may have positive impacts owing to the ability of the species to utilise second-growth habitat (Silveira et al. 2003).  Captive breeding populations exist (CoP 10 prop. 53).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey sites without recent records, especially São Miguel dos Campos, Tapacurá, Saltinho and João Pessoa, and any other remnant habitat fragments. Pursue conservation initiatives for the most important previously unreported populations, especially Usina Serra Grande, Mata da Macambira, Usina Utinga-Leao and Usina Santo Antonio (Silveira et al. 2003). Ensure the de facto protection of the Murici biological reserve. Enforce legal measures to prevent trade.  Develop captive breeding programmes to support future reintroduction and population supplementation efforts.


13.5 cm. Strikingly colourful tanager. Turquoise-green head, chin and mantle. Black lores, area around bill and throat. Bright blue breast becoming darker ultramarine on belly. Paler turquoise-blue wing-coverts. Dark blue edging to wing feathers. Broad orange edging to tertials. Black back extending over shoulder. Bright orange rump and lower back. Dark tail edged blue. Large black bill. Female duller but similarly patterned. Voice Thin it-it-it.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Harding, M., Sharpe, C J & Symes, A.

Goerck, J., Kirwan, G., Roda, S., Studer, A., Whittaker, A. & Willis, E.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Tangara fastuosa. Downloaded from on 24/09/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/09/2022.