Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Berylline Hummingbird (Amazilia beryllina)


French: Ariane béryl German: Beryllamazilie Spanish: Amazilia berilina

Trochilus beryllinus

W. Deppe#R

, 1830,



Sometimes placed in genus Saucerottia. Closely related to A. cyanura; reports of hybridization in a small zone of sympatry in Guatemala and El Salvador seem to be unproven, and may be erroneously based on variable tail coloration of present species. Form sumichrasti, long ignored, has proved to represent a well-marked race. Individuals of extreme W subpopulation of nominate race exhibit intergradation towards viola in belly coloration. Proposed race motaguae (from E Guatemala) is invalid, as main distinguishing characters can be ascribed to juvenile or female plumage. Race devillei considered “as distinct as many recognized hummingbird species”#R, but violet-purple vs bronzier-brown tail (score 2) and all glittering-green underparts vs glittering-green breast with greyish-cinnamon belly (2) appear to be only significant points of difference; further research desirable. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. b. viola (W. deW. Miller, 1905) – W Mexico (Sonora to Michoacán and Guerrero); rarely, SW USA.
  • A. b. beryllina (W. Deppe, 1830) – Northern Berylline Hummingbird – C Mexico (México S to S Veracruz and Oaxaca).
  • A. b. lichtensteini R. T. Moore, 1950 – S Mexico (W Chiapas).
  • A. b. sumichrasti Salvin, 1891 – S Mexico (extreme SE Oaxaca, NC & S Chiapas).
  • A. b. devillei (Bourcier & Mulsant, 1848) – Southern Berylline Hummingbird – S Guatemala and El Salvador to C Honduras.
  • Descriptive notes

    8–10 cm; male 4·4 g, female 4·0 g. Male has straight, medium-sized, blackish bill, except for fleshy-coloured basal half of mandible; bronze-green to... read more


    Song varied, comprising slightly gruff, high-pitched twittering notes, preceded by 1–2 lisping... read more


    Rather dense oak and pine-oak forest and scrub, tropical deciduous forest, forest edges, thorn... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds for nectar throughout foliage strata, often congregating with other hummingbird species at flowering trees; catches small insects at... read more


    Chiefly Jun–Oct, in Oaxaca with peak in Sept. Nest-sites from low down to 15 m above ground in shrubs and trees such as Wigandia... read more


    Sedentary in many parts of the range, except for the extreme north where regular migrant, mainly... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. CITES II. Very local and rare in SW USA, where apparently confined to Huachuca Mts and Chiricahua Mts of Arizona. Few records exist for the E slope... read more

    Recommended citation

    Weller, A.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Berylline Hummingbird (Amazilia beryllina). 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 11 December 2019).