Tapajos Hermit (Phaethornis aethopyga)

Tapajos Hermit

[order] APODIFORMES | [family] Trochilidae | [latin] Phaethornis aethopyga | [UK] Tapajos Hermit | [FR] Ermite pajaros | [DE] Tapajoseremit | [ES] Ermitano Tapajos | [NL] Tapajosheremietkolibrie


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

This small hermit has rufous underparts, rump and tail-tips, white to the base of the tail, and a dark throat. Females are paler and longer-tailed than males

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 9 cm size max.: 10 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 2   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 3  


South America : Tapajos-Xingu interfluvium in Brazil (Para)


P. aethopyga occurs only in terra firme forest with varying degrees of disturbance, especially along streams.


Little data, clutch size 2 eggs. Nest is a long cone shaped cup.

Feeding habits

Mostly nectar and small insects.
Feeds on nectar of flowers, especially red or orange tubular flowers such as bouvardia or desert honeysuckle, and will also feed on substitutes such as sugar-water mixes. Also eats many small insects and spiders.
Feeds by hovering and inserting its bill and long tongue in flowers to take nectar. Will also hover and perch at hummingbird feeders. Flies out from a perch to take insects in the air or from foliage, and will take small spiders (or trapped insects) from
spider webs.


It is thought to be locally or regionally extinct in large parts of its former range, notably most of central and north Central America and possibly Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, but recent records suggest that the population in the southern Atlantic forests may be migratory. It occurs in uninterrupted expanses of lowland tropical forest (typically below 900 m but locally to 2,000 m), but will nest where high-grade forestry has been practised, and use forest patches within a pasture/forest mosaic for hunting. Nests have been reported only 3 km apart in Panama and Guyana. Although still reasonably common in the Amazonian forests of Brazil and Peru, it will only survive in the long term if the escalating rate of forest destruction in the region is brought under control and a network of inviolate reserves established. Low overall population densities and slow reproductive rates make shooting the most significant threat over its entire range. It could perhaps survive in disturbed forests or even forest mosaics if its large size and boldness in the face of humans did not make it an irresistible target for hunters. It presumably also suffers from competition with humans for prey. This species is evaluated as Near Threatened.


Presumed sedentary

Distribution map

Tapajos Hermit distribution range map

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