Order Passeriformes

Family Thraupidae


The size of the bird is 15 cm and weighs between 18 and 28 g. Both sexes are similar. Its bill is black above and pale gray below, the legs are black and the iris is dark reddish brown.

The head, neck and throat have an intense black color, it has a large golden circular spot on the crown (1); the wings and tail are black with purple-blue margins, the lower abdomen and the undercuts (2) are brown, and the rest of the body is an intense purple-blue color. Juvenile (3) is dark, with the spot on the crown more opaque and smaller. (Hilty & Brown, 1986, 2001; Hilty, 2016)

Similar species

In low light it can be confused with the Plushcap (Catamblyrhynchus diadema) but it does not have dark blue underparts.

Geographical distribution

It is found in the Northwest of Venezuela, to the South through the Andes to the East and West of Ecuador and the North of Peru. In the Colombian Andes it is found on both slopes of the Eastern Cordillera in the South and Northeast of the department of Norte de Santander towards the South, and also on the Eastern slope in Nariño. Also in the North of the Central Cordillera and the Western Cordillera in Antioquia; it is in some points of the rest of the Central and Western Cordilleras. It is between 2,300 and 3,800 m high.


Present in dense thickets, edges of dense low forest and with a great quantity of mosses, limits of arboreal vegetation.


Not much information is available. Individuals in reproductive condition have been reported between February and August in the Eastern Andes. Some juveniles have been seen in Colombia in May towards Cundinamarca and Cauca, in Ecuador in March and July, in Peru in June, September and October; a dependent juvenile was reported in the PN Puracé-Colombia

Main threats

There is no evidence of population decline, although the felling of trees, the opening of forests and human colonization have a great incidence in the reduction and loss of habitat, as well as in the fragmentation of high mountain bird populations.

Diet and feeding

From stomach contents it is known to feed on plant matter, fruits, seeds and insects. Usually forages 0.5 to 5 m above the ground.

Category of extinction threat

 IUCN LC – Least Concern


It is a calm species; the calls can be a sharp «siiip» or also a short note «tsit»



  • Hilty, S. L. & Brown, W. L. (1986). A Guide to the Birds of Colombia. Princeton University Press, Princeton. 836 pp.
  • Hilty, S. L. & Brown, W. L. (2001). Guide to the birds of Colombia. Cali: SAO-Universidad del Valle and American Bird Conservancy.
  • BirdLife International. (2012). Iridosornis rufivertex. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22722675A39993707. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2012-1.RLTS.T22722675A39993707.en. Accessed 20 October 2016.
  • Hilty, S. (2016). Golden-crowned Tanager (Iridosornis rufivertex). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (Consulted at http://www.hbw.com/node/61668 on November 16, 2016).
  • Gallardy, R. (2015). XC297240. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/297240.