Honeycreepers are tanagers adapted to drinking nectar, and are sometimes mistaken for hummingbirds due to their slender beaks and continual busyness. Found from Mexico to Southern Brazil, for decades this species has been popular in zoos and private aviaries where they have been bred for more than 60 years. Unusual among tanagers, males molt out their brilliant blue and black pattern for part of the year, resembling the streaky green females. Both have bright yellow feathers concealed under their wings that are visible when in flight.
The nine species of Dacnis are specialized small tanagers that hunt for insects, eat berries and drink nectar. While some of them are rare, the Blue dacnis has an enormous distribution across South America, as well as southern Central America. It is a common species in zoos, and has been known as cage bird for more than a hundred years. While only the males have the bright blue and black pattern, females are also brilliantly colored, in bright greens and blues.
This is one of the more widely distributed of the Tangara tanagers, found from Costa Rica south through a large area of South America, including parts of the Andes, Amazonia and Eastern Brazil. It has been an admired cage bird for at least a century, and is one of the more common tanagers in zoos, where it has been bred.
There are at least 47 species of small, jewel-like tanagers in the genus Tangara, making this the largest genus of purely Tropical American birds. The DWA displays more than a dozen, probably the most extensive public exhibit. They are particularly concentrated along the Andes, as is this species, which is found from Venezuela to Bolivia. Although now seldom seen in zoos, it has bred repeatedly in captivity since the 1950s.