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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Cladus: Craniata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Archosauromorpha
Cladus: Crurotarsi
Divisio: Archosauria
Subsectio: Ornithodira
Subtaxon: Dinosauromorpha
Cladus: Dinosauria
Ordo: Saurischia
Cladus: Theropoda
Cladus: Neotheropoda
Infraclassis: Aves
Ordo: Passeriformes
Subordo: Passeri
Infraordo: Passerida
Superfamilia: Passeroidea

Familia: Thraupidae
Genus: Cyanerpes
Species: C. caeruleus - C. cyaneus - C. lucidus - C. nitidus


Cyanerpes Oberholser, 1899

Typus: Certhia cyanea Linnaeus, 1766 = Cyanerpes cyaneus


Oberholser, H.C. 1899. A Synopsys of the Blue Honey-creepers of tropical America. The Auk 16(1): 31–35. BHL DOI: 10.2307/4069264. Reference page. First availability p.32 BHL

Vernacular names
suomi: Mesitangarat

The typical honeycreepers form a genus Cyanerpes of small birds in the tanager family Thraupidae. They are found in the tropical New World from Mexico south to Brazil. They occur in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, they are specialist nectar feeders with long curved bills.

The four Cyanerpes species have colourful legs, long wings and a short tail. The males are typically glossy purple-blue and the females greenish.

Taxonomy and species list

The genus Cyanerpes was introduced in 1899 by the American ornithologist Harry C. Oberholser with the red-legged honeycreeper as the type species.[1][2] The name combines the Ancient Greek kuanos meaning "dark-blue" and herpēs meaning "creeper".[3]

There are two other tanagers with honeycreeper in their common name: the green honeycreeper in the monospecific genus Chlorophanes and the golden-collared honeycreeper in the monospecific genus Iridophanes.[4] These two species are sister taxa and belong to the subfamily Hemithraupinae rather than to Dacninae with the members of Cyanerpes.[5][6]

The genus contains four species:[4]

Image Name Common name Distribution
Cyanerpes nitidus Short-billed honeycreeper Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela
Cyanerpes lucidus, Nusagandi, Panama.jpg Cyanerpes lucidus Shining honeycreeper Mexico to Panama and northwest Colombia
Purple honey creeper (Cyanerpes caeruleus longirostris) male.jpg Cyanerpes caeruleus Purple honeycreeper Colombia and Venezuela south to Brazil, and on Trinidad.
Red-legged Honeycreeper - Panama H8O2103 (23250437695).jpg Cyanerpes cyaneus Red-legged honeycreeper southern Mexico south to Peru, Bolivia and central Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, and on Cuba

A commonly repeated, yet false, belief about the various honeycreeper species is that some of them lay black eggs. This idea was first made known in the scientific community with the 1899 publication of Nehrkorn's egg catalog; Nehrkorn's claim was cited in ornithological literature for many years without verification, but by the 1940s it was established that none of the members of Cyanerpes lay such eggs.[7]


Oberholser, Harry C. (1899). "A synopsis of the blue honey-creepers of tropical America". Auk. 16: 31–35 [32].
Paynter, Raymond A. Jr, ed. (1970). Check-List of Birds of the World. Volume 13. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 393.
Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 126. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (July 2020). "Tanagers and allies". IOC World Bird List Version 10.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
Burns, K.J.; Shultz, A.J.; Title, P.O.; Mason, N.A.; Barker, F.K.; Klicka, J.; Lanyon, S.M.; Lovette, I.J. (2014). "Phylogenetics and diversification of tanagers (Passeriformes: Thraupidae), the largest radiation of Neotropical songbirds". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 75: 41–77. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2014.02.006.
Burns, K.J.; Unitt, P.; Mason, N.A. (2016). "A genus-level classification of the family Thraupidae (Class Aves: Order Passeriformes)". Zootaxa. 4088 (3): 329–354. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.4088.3.2.
Eisenmann, Eugene (1953). "What bird lays black eggs?". Auk. 70 (3): 362–363. doi:10.2307/4081327.

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