The Scarlet Tanager has a pale stout smooth bill and adult males are bright red with black wings and tail. Females are yellowish on the underparts and olive on top, with olive-brown wings and tail. The adult male's winter plumage is similar to the female's, but the wings and tail remain darker.
The breeding habitat of the Scarlet Tanager is large forested areas across eastern North America. They build a cup nest on horizontal tree branches. They migrate to northwestern South America and do best in the forest interior, where they are less exposed to predators. Unfortunately, their numbers are declining in some areas due to forest fragmentation.