The Blue-gray Tanager, Thraupis episcopus, is a medium-sized South American songbird of the Tanager family, Thraupidae. Its range is from Mexico south to northeast Bolivia and northern Brazil, all of the Amazon Basin, except the very south. It has been introduced to Lima, Peru.
The breeding habitat is open woodland, cultivated areas and gardens. One 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. The Blue-gray Tanager is 18 cm long and weighs 35 g. Adults have a pale blue-gray head and underparts, with darker blue upperparts. The bill is short and quite thick. Sexes are similar, but the immature is much duller in plumage.
There are a number of races. T. e. berlepschi is endemic to Tobago, and is a brighter and darker blue on the rump and shoulder. T. e. neosophila, 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.
The Blue-gray 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 papaya.
At the Asa Wright Nature Center in Trinidad
The song is a squeaky twittering, interspersed with tseee and tsuup call notes.
In Trinidad and Tobago, this bird is locally called the 'Blue Jean'.
Widespread and common throughout its large range, the Blue-gray Tanager is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.