Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Cozumel Emerald (Chlorostilbon forficatus)


French: Émeraude de Cozumel German: Schwalbenschwanz-Smaragdkolibri Spanish: Esmeralda de Cozumel

Chlorostilbon forficatus


, 1885,

Cozumel Island


Formerly treated as one of many races of C. mellisugus (which see); an alternative was, on basis of bill colour, to treat the five N subspecies (present species with auriceps, canivetii, osberti and salvini) as a separate species. A more radical evaluation of the complex#R is largely followed here but, owing to both the sheer number of taxa in the original complex and the diaspora of specimen material, comparisons between taxa and decisions on their taxonomic status are limited mainly to geographical neighbours. Thus, based on a scoring of the diagnostic differences given in the main detailed study#R, present form is specifically distinct from mainland C. auriceps on account of distinctly larger size (no overlap in wing chord) (2); broader and more rounded rectrices (1); blue-green vs golden-green inner rectrices of females (2); and duller, brownish-grey tips of male’s bluer tail (2 [1+1]); and from C. canivetii by larger size (allow 1); much longer tail in male (3) with brownish-grey vs grey tips (1); female tail with more extensive white on outer two rectrices (2). Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

Cozumel I, off coast of Yucatán. Recorded also on I Mujeres (N of Cozumel).

Descriptive notes

8–9·5 cm. Previously treated as conspecific with C. mellisugus. Bill straight and approximately same length as head, or slightly longer. Adult male has tail very... read more


Dry rattling and chattering calls, very like those of other Chlorostilbon.


Inhabits brushy woodland, scrub and second growth.

Food and feeding

Presumably similar to C. mellisugus.


Nest and eggs apparently undescribed.


Presumably largely sedentary, although there is a single (specimen) record on Mujeres I.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. CITES II. Restricted to the 490 km² island of Cozumel, where it is a fairly common to common resident, with a total population estimated at fewer... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Cozumel Emerald (Chlorostilbon forficatus). 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 23 January 2020).