The chat-tanager’s scientific name, frugivorus, is misleading as it feeds mainly on invertebrates such as spiders, worms, beetles and grubs, rather than fruit (2) (3).
The breeding ecology of the chat-tanager has been described for the western subspecies C. f. teritus. Usually found just over a metre above the ground, the large nest of this subspecies is built among dense vegetation from twigs, vines, leaves, lichens, moss and feathers to form a partially domed structure. Generally, clutches of two eggs are incubated by the female between mid-May and mid-June. The eggs are about three centimetres long and are mottled and speckled with brown on a pale blue background. Eggs and nestlings of the chat-tanager are often lost to predators such as rats and feral cats (5).
The female broods the chicks and maintains the nest, clearing it of faeces and broken egg shells. Both adult birds feed the chicks, although the male will spend much of its time foraging for invertebrates which are then given to the female to feed to the nestlings. Between short periods of brooding, the female chat-tanager flies back and forth from the nest, feeding the nestlings with grubs and insects. The female will always return to the nest using the same pattern of perches, changing its vocalisations from a ‘chip-chip’ to a more even ‘tick-tick-tick’ as it gets nearer. The male sings in short bursts, standing on different perches within ten metres of the nest (5).