Rufous-breasted Hermit


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The Rufous-breasted Hermit, Glaucis hirsuta, is a hummingbird that breeds from Panama south to Brazil, and onTrinidad, Tobago and Grenada. It is a common and widespread species.

This hermit inhabits forest undergrowth often near running water. It is 10.7 cm long and weighs 7 g. The bill is long (3.3cm) and strongly decurved.

The Rufous-breasted Hermit has a brownish head, bronze-green upperparts and rufous underparts. The tail has green central feathers and rufous outer feathers, all tipped white. The bill has a yellow lower mandible and a black upper mandible. Sexes are similar, but the male has yellow streaking on the upper mandible, and the female may be slightly duller in plumage.

The female Rufous-breasted Hermit lays two eggs in a small cup nest with a tail, made of rootlets and attached to the underside of a palm, fern or Heliconia leaf. The nests are often near a stream, waterfall or roadside, and are surprisingly easy to find. Incubation is 17 days with 23 more to fledging, and this species may nest up to four times in a season. The male of this aggressive and inquisitive hummingbird defends the nest, but does not incubate.

The Rufous-breasted Hermit’s food is nectar, taken from a variety of understory flowers, especially Heliconia and gingers, and some small invertebrates. The call of this species is a high-pitched sweet.


Rufous-breasted Hermit
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Trochiliformes
Family: Trochilidae
Genus: Glaucis
Species: G. hirsuta
Binomial name
Glaucis hirsuta
(Gmelin, 1788)


bullet Birds of Venezuela by Hilty, ISBN 0-7136-6418-5

bullet Birds of Trinidad and Tobago by ffrench, ISBN 0-7136-6759-1
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