Sira Tanager Tangara phillipsi


Justification of Red List Category
Although this species may have a small range, it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km² combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population size may be small, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The species is described as fairly common to common in suitable habitat (Harvey 2020). Assuming that the species occurs at the same density as congeners (1-22 individuals/km2; Santini et al. 2018), the population may number roughly 3,650-80,000 individuals, equating to 2,400-53,500 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The population trend has not been assessed directly. Forest loss within the range has been very low over the last ten years (potentially < 3%; Global Forest Watch 2020), and large areas still seemed pristine (Mee et al. 2002, Harvey et al. 2011). As the species is not confined to forest interior, but also occurs at edges and in scrub habitat, the low rates of forest loss are unlikely to impact the population size, and the species is tentatively assessed as stable.

Distribution and population

Tangara phillipsi was discovered in 1969 and is restricted to the Cerros del Sira in Huánuco, east-central Peru (Schulenberg et al. 2007, Harvey et al. 2011). It is apparently fairly common within suitable habitat at the few sites where it has been detected (Mee et al. 2002, Schulenberg et al. 2007, Harvey et al. 2011).


This species occurs at elevations of 1,100-2,200 m in the canopy and borders of humid montane forest and cloud-forest, preferring open, scrubby and secondary habitats (Schulenberg et al. 2007, Harvey 2020). It is usually found 11-25 m above the ground, but three individuals have been mist-netted nearer the ground. An expedition in 2000 commonly encountered Tangara phillipsi from ridge-top scrub and isolated trees (3-10 m) within the moss-forest zone and the canopy of higher forest below ridge-tops (15-20 m) (Mee et al. 2002). It occurred in mixed-species flocks of c.50 birds where it outnumbered other Tangara tanagers by 5:1 (A. Mee in litt. 2001). The species was found in 2008 in the southern part of the Cerros del Sira, where it was observed in groups of 2-15 individuals associated with mixed-species flocks (Harvey et al. 2011).


Threats include gold and copper mining and small-scale logging, which have been ongoing near the base of the Sira for some time (Mee et al. 2002). Within the western 'boundary' of the Sira, by the Pachitea river, there is evidence that logging operations may be on the increase (Mee et al. 2002). The local people are keen to prevent logging on their land but tend to lack land titles (A. Mee in litt. 2001). However, the areas visited in the northern part of the Cerros del Sira in 2000 and in the southern part in 2008 both seemed largely pristine at those times (A. Mee in litt. 2001, Mee et al. 2002, Harvey et al. 2011, M. Harvey in litt. 2020). In the future, the species may potentially be impacted by a reduction in habitat availability as a consequence of climate change and altitudinal range shifts (Harvey 2020).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
The Cerros del Sira was designated a Native Reserve in June 2001 (Mee et al. 2002).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey areas of potentially suitable habitat within the surrounding area to determine the full extent of the range. Monitor habitat and population trends at Cerros del Sira to determine the level of threat. Provide local residents with land titles and the capacity to defend the forests on their land.


13 cm. Medium-sized, sexually dichromatic tanager. Male has black crown and nape, lower breast and central belly, contrasting with green ear-coverts and throat. Rest of plumage dark silvery blue. Female has paler crown and nape, yellow-green mantle and flanks, with darker wings, and pale blue-green underparts. Similar spp. Differs from very similar Black-capped Tanager T. heinei in being darker (especially male, which has lower breast and central belly heavily washed black). Female differs from heinei principally in having darker grey breast and belly. Voice Undescribed.


Text account compilers
Mahood, S., Gilroy, J., Hermes, C., Sharpe, C.J.

Harvey, M., Mee, A. & Butchart, S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Tangara phillipsi. Downloaded from on 23/03/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/03/2023.