Western Tanager

Western Tanager by Michael A. Seymour
© Michael A. Seymour
Piranga ludoviciana
This Rocky Mountain species is an uncommon transient in spring and fall and a casual winter resident that has been observed nowhere in the state except in our southern parishes. It has definitely recorded on no less than 39 occasions at some 18 different localities in Cameron, Lafayette, Pointe Coupee, West Feliciana, East Baton Rouge, Tangipahoa, Lafourche, St. John the Baptist, Jefferson, Orleans, and Plaquemines parishes. Twenty-three of the records are in spring, eight in late summer and fall, and seven in winter. One is an anomalous sighting by Ralph Cambre, Ronald J. Stein, and Melvin Weber of two males and a female at Reserve on June 15, 1963. Extreme dates of occurrence are otherwise from August 30 through May 23.
The male of the Western Tanager has a red face; yellow neck, rump and underparts; and black tail, wings, and back. It is easily recognized not only by this combination but also by its two prominent yellow wing bars; no other tanager in the United States possesses wing bars of any sort. Females are simply dull greenish above and yellowish below but, like the male, can be quickly identified by the yellowish wing bars.--George H. Lowery, Jr., 1974, Louisiana Birds

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