The western tanager (Piranga ludoviciana), is a medium-sized American songbird. Formerly placed in the tanager family (Thraupidae), other members of its genus and it are classified in the cardinal family (Cardinalidae). The species’s plumage and vocalizations are similar to other members of the cardinal family.
The breeding range of the western tanager includes forests along the western coast of North America from southeastern Alaska south to northern Baja California, Mexico. Western tanagers extend east to western Texas and north through central New Mexico, central Colorado, extreme northwest Nebraska, and areas of western South Dakota to southern Northwest Territories, Canada. Its wintering range stretches from central Costa Rica north through Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala to southern Baja California Sur and extreme southeastern Sonora in western Mexico and to southern Tamaulipas in northeastern Mexico.
Western tanagers obtain their food by foliage gleaning and hawking. Western tanagers eat fruits and a wide range of insects. Fruits include hawthorn apples (Crataegus spp.), raspberries (Rubus spp.), mulberries (Morus spp.), elderberries (Sambucus spp.), serviceberries (Amelanchier spp.), and wild and cultivated cherries (Prunus spp.).