Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Amethyst-throated Hummingbird (Lampornis amethystinus)


French: Colibri à gorge améthyste German: Rotkehlnymphe Spanish: Colibrí amatistino
Other common names: Amethyst-throated Mountain-gem, Violet-throated Hummingbird (margaritae)

Lampornis amethystinus


, 1827,

Temascáltepec and Real del Monte, Mexico


Taxonomy somewhat confused, and precise distributions of races not well known. Probably a sister-species of L. clemenciae#R. Race margaritae sometimes suggested as possibly a separate species (including salvini and nobilis as races): has gorget bluish-violet, not rose-pink, may call slightly differently, and may be sympatric with nominate amethystinus in S Oaxaca#R; on other hand, a study of phylogeography and population genetics of this species indicated that variation in throat colour is of recent origin and probably based on only minor genetic differences#R; research clearly needed. Proposed race brevirostris doubtfully distinct from margaritae. Name of race circumventus sometimes misspelt as circumventris. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. a. amethystinus Swainson, 1827 – mountains of C & E Mexico (S Nuevo León and S Tamaulipas to Veracruz and N Oaxaca).
  • L. a. margaritae (Salvin & Godman, 1889) – SW Mexico (Nayarit and Jalisco to Michoacán and W Oaxaca).
  • L. a. circumventus (A. R. Phillips, 1966) – S Mexico (W Sierra de Miahuatlán, in SW Oaxaca).
  • L. a. salvini (Ridgway, 1908) – highlands of S Mexico (Chiapas), Guatemala and El Salvador.
  • L. a. nobilis Griscom, 1932 – highlands of Honduras.
  • Descriptive notes

    11·5–12·5 cm; male 5–7·8 g, female 5–5·8 g. Male has slightly decurved black bill; crown dark green, ear-coverts dusky grey,... read more


    Repertoire varied. Presumed song a soft, buzzy scratchy phrase, reminiscent of song of other... read more


    Edges and interior of humid evergreen and pine-oak forest, at 900–3000 m.

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on nectar of flowering Centropogon affinis, Fuchsia minutiflora, Penstemon kunthii, Rigidella... read more


    Oct–Dec, May–Jul. Nest is cup-shaped, made out of moss, decorated with lichens, and attached to pendent twigs in bushes or... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. CITES II. Generally common, but parts of habitat are under threat of deforestation; not known to accept man-made habitats. Regularly recorded at El... read more

    Recommended citation

    Züchner, T. & Boesman, P. (2019). Amethyst-throated Hummingbird (Lampornis amethystinus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 7 December 2019).