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GAP Analysis Predicted Distribution Map

Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana)

Species Code: PILU

Click to enlarge Range map

= Core Habitat
= Marginal Habitat

Breeding Range Map
The green area shows the predicted habitats for breeding only. The habitats were identified using 1991 satellite imagery, Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA), other datasets and experts throughout the state, as part of the Washington Gap Analysis Project. Habitats used during non-breeding months and migratory rest-stops were not mapped.

Metadata (Data about data or how the map was made)

Click to enlarge distribution map

Other maps & Information:
  • Breeding Bird Atlas
  • NatureMapping observations
    during breeding season
  • NatureMapping observations
    throughout the year

The Western Tanager is common in conifer forests throughout the state. In the Olympics, it is found mostly below 1500 feet, rarely to 3000 feet. Elsewhere, this species is found regularly to 3000 feet in the Cascades and to just above 6000 feet in the Blue Mountains. This Tanager favors open conifer forest or a combination of conifer forests and forest openings, such as clearings or open wetlands.

All zones below Alpine/Parkland were core, except on the Olympic Peninsula, where the Silver Fir and Mountain Hemlock zones were excluded. In forested zones, conifer forest openings and clearings were good habitat; wooded parks, fresh water/wetlands, hardwood forest, and mixed forest were adequate. In steppe zones, the Western Tanager favors only patches of conifer forest at the margins of the Basin.

The Western Tanager is most common in eastern Washington in Douglas-fir and Ponderosa Pine forests, where natural breaks are common in the open canopy. In western Washington, tanagers are most common where conifer forests are adjacent to breaks in the canopy, including clear-cuts. Unlike many species that prefer edge habitats, however, they are rare as breeders in settled areas of the Puget Trough, and limited mostly to areas with remnant conifer stands. In lowlands, this species is often found near the Black-headed Grosbeak in fragmented habitats, with the Western Tanager in conifer stands and the Black-headed Grosbeak in hardwood stands. Many “possible” level records from the Puget Trough are probably migrants, as Western Tanagers are common throughout this region in migration. Statewide, Breeding Bird Survey data show a significant population increase of 5.5% per year from l982 to l991.

Translated from the Washington Gap Analysis Bird Volume by Uchenna Bright
Text edited by Gussie Litwer
Webpage designed by Dave Lester