Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Crowned Woodnymph (Thalurania colombica)


French: Dryade couronnée German: Violettkronennymphe Spanish: Zafiro coronado
Other common names: Violet-crowned Woodnymph (colombica group), Black-capped Woodnymph (“nigricapilla”)

Ornismya colombica


, 1843,

San Agustín, Magdalena Valley, Colombia


Closely related to T. ridgwayi and T. furcata; species limits unclear, and all three have been considered conspecific in various combinations. Subspecies name fannyae previously spelt as fannyi, but latter now shown to be incorrect#R. Following earlier study#R, subspecies townsendi, venusta, colombica and rostrifera sometimes (as in HBW) treated as forming a separate species, but these differ only in crown colour from, and show evidence of hybridization over wide area with, green-crowned forms fannyae, subtropicalis, verticeps and hypochlora (treated together as “T. fannyi” in HBW)#R#R; treatment of races as two separate species now seems unsafe#R. Recently described species T. nigricapilla#R (included in HBW SV), differentiated only by lack of iridescent crown, currently thought possibly to be based on juvenile subtropicalis#R. Distinctive race hypochlora may be a separate species, a treatment recently adopted by some authors#R, but problem of provenance of certain specimens labelled from Gualea (e.g. in NHMUK) requires full study and proper resolution. Race rostrifera may not be distinguishable from nominate and subtropicalis may not be separable from verticeps. Eight subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. c. townsendi Ridgway, 1888 – E Guatemala to SE Honduras.
  • T. c. venusta (Gould, 1851) – E Nicaragua to C Panama.
  • T. c. colombica (Bourcier, 1843) – Purple-crowned Woodnymph – N Colombia (S to head of Magdalena Valley) and NW Venezuela (Andes S from N Lara).
  • T. c. rostrifera Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1956 – W Venezuela (SW Táchira).
  • T. c. fannyae (DeLattre & Bourcier, 1846) – Green-crowned Woodnymph – E Panama (E San Blas, Darién) to SW Colombia.
  • T. c. subtropicalis Griscom, 1932 – WC Colombia in Cauca Valley and along adjacent W & C Andes.
  • T. c. verticeps (Gould, 1851) – Pacific slope of W Andes of extreme SW Colombia (W Nariño) and W Ecuador (N Los Ríos, S Manabí, N Guayas).
  • T. c. hypochlora Gould, 1871 – Emerald-bellied Woodnymph – Pacific lowlands of S Ecuador (NE Guayas, SW Chimborazo) and NW Peru (Tumbes).
  • Descriptive notes

    Male 9·5–11·5 cm, 4–5·5 g; female 8·5–9·2 cm, 3·5–4·2 g. Bill black, feet dark grey. Male has... read more


    Possible song a monotonously repeated, single, plaintive squeaky chip, “ksit...ksit...ksit..”, at... read more


    Humid wet primary forest and adjacent edges, tall second growth, overgrown clearings and semi-open... read more

    Food and feeding

    Visits flowers of a wide variety of epiphytes (Columnea, bromeliads, ericads, mistletoes, gesneriads, Marcgraviaceae), shrubs and... read more


    Mainly during dry season (Feb–Jun) in Costa Rica; Mar in Panama; Mar–Jul or Aug, perhaps later, in N & C Colombia; Feb... read more


    In Costa Rica, part of population moves upslope to 1000–1200 m following breeding; also local... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. One of the commonest forest hummingbirds over most of range (very common in Costa Rica, abundant in Colombia, common in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Stiles, F.G., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Crowned Woodnymph (Thalurania colombica). 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 21 February 2020).