Travel Ecuador : Bird watching : Birds :

Golden Tanager

It is your first trip to the cloud forest. Although you have only casually watched birds in the past, you brought binoculars on this trip to Ecuador as was recommended by informative websites and friends that had visited this extremely biodiverse country. As you watch a short tree filled with small, purple fruits, a flock of small, chattering birds suddenly arrives and they immediately begin to feast on the abundant fruit. Their colors both beautiful and mind-boggling to behold, among the many tanagers is a pair of birds whose golden-yellow plumage with black markings boldly stands out against the green vegetation. Looking up this incredible bird in your field guide to the birds of Ecuador, you identify them as being Golden Tanagers; one of the common, beautiful birds of the Andes.

The Golden Tanager is a small bird with a short finch-like bill whose plumage is entirely golden yellow in coloration except for small black markings on its face, back, wings, and tail. Nothing else in Ecuador looks like this shining species, both sexes of which have similar plumage.

Behavior in Ecuador
As elsewhere in this bird’s range, and like many other tanagers, the Golden Tanager is most often seen as it forages for small fruits and insects in mixed flocks. While foraging, it creeps along mossy tree branches, frequently peering underneath the branches in the hopes of finding tasty insects that were hiding in the moss. It often forages with other bird species because the more birds there are, the more likely it is that a predator will be detected. More birds for the predator to look at also make the predator more likely to become confused and unable to zero in on a prey item.

Habitat and distribution in Ecuador
In Ecuador, the Golden Tanager is a common inhabitant of cloud forests on both slopes from the foothills to around 2,000 meters in elevation. They are common in mossy trees and bushes at the edge of the forest and in open areas such as hotel gardens.