My friend Louis the photographer is visiting in Missoula for a week and wanted to do another photo shoot in the Museum — actually, he wanted to shoot me doing a shoot in the museum (like Inception with photography) so we decided to make it exceptionally colorful.  When I need a lot of color in a museum otherwise filled with neutral skulls and skeletons, I can always rely on our extensive variety of tanagers (family Thraupidae) — they are also some of my favorite specimens in the entire collection, so it seemed appropriate. 

I’ve written/photographed tanagers before (a paradise tanager [Tangara chilensis] and some beautiful western tanagers [Piranga ludoviciana]), but this time we decided to go for it and photograph nearly every species of tanager (and some similarly related) in the collection.  Here’s a list of every species included in the shoot, but not in order: 

  • Golden tanager (Tangara arthus)
  • Black-headed tanager (Tangara cyanoptera)
  • Masked tanager (Tangara nigrocincta)
  • Black-faced Dacnis (Dacnis lineata)
  • Blue-and-black tanager (Tangara vassorii)
  • Western tanager (Piranga ludoviciana)
  • Paradise tanager (Tangara chilensis)
  • Scarlet tanager (Piranga olivacea)
  • Bay-headed tanager (Tangara gyrola)
  • Thick-billed Euphonia  (Euphonia laniirostris; formerly in the family Thraupidae, now in family Fringillidae)
  • Tawny-capped Euphonia (Euphonia anneae; also now in family Fringillidae)
  • Summer tanager (Pirangra rubra)
  • Red-legged honeycreeper (Cyanerpes cyaneus)
  • Green honeycreeper (Chlorophanes spiza)

And, of course, the peafowl (Genus Pavo) tail in the background for additional color. 

This was a blast to photograph, and be sure to stay tuned for Louis’ awesome photographs of this same setup which I’ll post later in the week!