Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Empress Brilliant (Heliodoxa imperatrix)


French: Brillant impératrice German: Rotstern-Brillantkolibri Spanish: Brillante emperador

Eugenia imperatrix


, 1856,

Andean forests in the neighbourhood of Quito (probably Pacific slope), Ecuador


For long segregated in monospecific genus Eugenia on basis of its long, very deeply forked tail. One specimen of uncertain origin has been identified as a hybrid between present species and H. jacula jamersoni#R. Monotypic.


Pacific slope from WC Colombia (S Chocó) to NW Ecuador (Pichincha).

Descriptive notes

Male 15–17 cm, 9·3 g; female 12–13·5 cm, 8·3 g. Bill black, feet dusky grey; tail quite variable in length, especially among adult males.... read more


A repeated single “tsit” note, at a rate of c. 1 note/second, also given singly while hovering or... read more


Very wet foothills and lower mountain cloudforest and forest edge, adjacent tall second growth, at... read more

Food and feeding

Regularly visits inflorescences of Marcgravia and Marcgraviastrum, perching on inflorescence to extract nectar from... read more


Jan–Apr (W Colombia). One nest (perhaps incomplete) was a downy cup of balsa floss and cobweb, plastered on top of palm frond 10 m up... read more


No information.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Restricted-range species: present in Chocó EBA. Uncommon to locally common in Colombia, its very wet forest habitat... read more

Recommended citation

Stiles, F.G. & Boesman, P. (2020). Empress Brilliant (Heliodoxa imperatrix). 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).