Ramphocelus carbo (*)
Ramphocelus carbo (Pallas, 1764)
Catalogue raisonne, D'une Collection supérieurement belle D'Oiseaux p.2 no.114 & 115
The Silver-beaked Tanager, Ramphocelus carbo, is a medium-sized passerine bird. This tanager is a resident breeder in South America from eastern Colombia and Venezuela south to Paraguay and central Brazil, and on Trinidad. It is common and conspicuous in some areas—it may be the bird most often heard and seen in Suriname.
Silver-beaked Tanagers are 18 cm long and weigh 25 g. Adult males are velvety crimson black with a deep crimson throat and breast. The upper mandible of the bill is black, but the enlarged lower mandible is bright silver in appearance. The bill is pointed upwards in display. The female is much duller, with brownish upperparts, reddish brown underparts and a black bill.
There is considerable plumage variation between the various subspecies, differing mainly in the degree of contrast between the upperparts and the throat and breast.
It occurs in light woodland and cultivation areas. The bulky cup nest is usually built in a bush, and the normal clutch is two green-blue eggs blotched with black-brown. The female incubates the eggs for 11–12 days before they hatch. The chicks fledge after another 11–12 days.
These are social birds which eat mainly fruit, but insects are also taken. The Silver-beaked Tanager is often seen in groups of six to ten, frequently giving a call described as cheeng. Its song is a slow thin kick-wick.
* BirdLife International (2004). Ramphocelus carbo. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
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