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Western Tanagers are stocky songbirds; fairly small yet noticeably larger and heavier-bodied than warblers. They have short, thick-based bills and medium-length tails. Adult male Western Tanagers are yellow birds with black wings and a flaming orange-red head. The wings have two bold wingbars; the upper one yellow and the lower white. The back and tail are black. Adult females have red restricted to the front of the face, with subdued yellow-green plumage on the body. Immatures in fall lack red, while in spring show less red on the head relative to that on adults of their respective sex.
Foothills around 8,000 ft. near large body of water.
I was pleasantly surprised to see this beauty of a bird on an afternoon hike today! I had never seen one so close. I spotted several males, but this bloke didn't seem to care that I was so close. He perched on thistles and hunted bugs while my dog and I hiked up the hill!