AppearanceThe Blue-grey Tanager is 16–18 cm long and weighs 30–40 g . Adults have a light bluish head and underparts, with darker blue upperparts and a shoulder patch colored a different hue of blue. The bill is short and quite thick. Sexes are similar, but the immature is much duller in plumage.
The song is a squeaky twittering, interspersed with ''tseee'' and ''tsuup'' call notes.
NamingThere are 13–15 commonly recognized subspecies, differing according to the exact hue of blue of the shoulder patch versus the rest of the plumage; they may be greyish, greenish or purplish-blue, with a lavender, dark blue or whitish shoulder patch. For example, ''T. e. berlepschi'' is a brighter and darker blue on the rump and shoulder, ''T. e. neosophilus'' with a violet shoulder patch occurs in northern Venezuela, Trinidad, eastern Colombia and the far north of Brazil, ''T. e. mediana'' of the southern Amazon basin has a white wing patch, and ''T. e. cana'' in the northern Amazon has blue shoulders.
StatusWidespread and common throughout its large range, the Blue-grey Tanager is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
HabitatThe breeding habitat is open woodland, cultivated areas and gardens. The Blue-grey Tanager lives mainly on fruit, but will also take some nectar and insects. This is a common, restless, noisy and confiding species, usually found in pairs, but sometimes small groups. It thrives around human habitation, and will take some cultivated fruit like papayas .
ReproductionOne to three, usually two, dark-marked whitish to grey green eggs are laid in a deep cup nest in a high tree fork or building crevice. Incubation by the female is 14 days with another 17 to fledging. The nest is sometimes parasitised by ''Molothrus'' cowbirds.
PredatorsTwo birds studied in the Parque Nacional de La Macarena of Colombia were infected with microfilariae, an undetermined ''Trypanosoma'' species, and another blood parasite that could not be identified. Two other birds, examined near Turbo , did not have blood parasites.
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