Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Fork-tailed Woodnymph (Thalurania furcata)


French: Dryade à queue fourchue German: Schwalbennymphe Spanish: Zafiro golondrina

Trochilus furcatus

J. F. Gmelin

, 1788,



Closely related to T. ridgwayi and T. colombica; species limits unclear, and all three have been considered conspecific. Alternatively, mostly dull-crowned and more green-backed forms are sometimes separated in present species from the other two, which are then lumped as another species with glittering crown and more violet on back. Of races currently recognized, most are based on variations in coloration of adult male, and several doubtfully valid. Races baeri and eriphile, with glittering green frontlet, were in the past separated as T. eriphile, but former intergrades with adjacent dull-crowned races in Brazil, indicating potential pitfalls of attributing taxonomic significance to this feature. Race jelskii represents zone of intergradation of viridipectus, simoni and boliviana; furcatoides intergrades with balzani and baeri where their ranges meet in NC & C Brazil. Described form Thalurania lerchi, known from Bogotá trade skins, is apparently a hybrid between present species and Chrysuronia oenone; form Eucephala scapulata, known from single specimen from French Guiana, is probably a hybrid of present species with Chlorostilbon notatus. Name tschudii should perhaps replace jelskii; if so, jelskii may be correct name for current race boliviana. Proposed race taczanowskii (NE Peru) not reliably separable from viridipectus. Thirteen subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. f. refulgens Gould, 1853 – NE Venezuela (E from NE Anzoátegui); reports from Trinidad erroneous.
  • T. f. furcata (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) – extreme E Venezuela, the Guianas and NE Brazil (N of Amazon in Pará and Amapá).
  • T. f. fissilis Berlepsch & E. J. O. Hartert, 1902 – E Venezuela and adjacent extreme W Guyana and N Brazil (N Roraima).
  • T. f. orenocensis Hellmayr, 1921 – upper Orinoco region of S Venezuela (Amazonas).
  • T. f. nigrofasciata (Gould, 1846) – E Colombia (Guainía), NW Brazil (upper R Negro) and extreme S Venezuela (SW Amazonas).
  • T. f. viridipectus Gould, 1848 – E foothills of Andes and adjacent lowlands of E Colombia, E Ecuador and NE Peru (N of R Marañón).
  • T. f. jelskii Taczanowski, 1874 – most of E Peru and adjacent W Brazil.
  • T. f. simoni Hellmayr, 1906 – upper Amazon region (S of Amazon, W of R Tefé) in extreme E Peru and W Brazil.
  • T. f. balzani Simon, 1896 – NC Brazil (S of Amazon, E to R Tapajós).
  • T. f. furcatoides Gould, 1861 – lower Amazon region of E Brazil (S of Amazon, E from R Tapajós).
  • T. f. boliviana Boucard, 1894 – Andean foothills and adjacent lowlands of SE Peru (from E Pasco) to EC Bolivia (W Santa Cruz).
  • T. f. baeri Hellmayr, 1907 – NE & C Brazil (Ceará S to Mato Grosso do Sul and Goiás) to S Bolivia and NW & NC Argentina.
  • T. f. eriphile (Lesson, 1832) – SE Brazil (S Bahia to Paraná), adjacent Paraguay and NE Argentina (Misiones).
  • Descriptive notes

    Male 9·5–12·9 cm, 3·6–6 g; female 8–10·7 cm, 3–5 g. Straight medium-sized bill black. Male mostly dark bronzy-green above... read more


    Song an incessant series of high-pitched bisyllabic, thin wiry notes “see-tseet...see-tseet....see-... read more


    Humid forest (both terra firme forest and várzea in Amazonia, where shows... read more

    Food and feeding

    Visits flowers of epiphytes (bromeliads, ericads), vines (Mucuna, Gurania), lianas (Combretum), trees (Inga... read more


    Birds in breeding condition recorded Apr–Oct in foothills of E Andes, Aug–Oct along the Amazon in E Colombia (viridipectus... read more


    Veyr few data available; presumably more or less sedentary except for local movements following... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Only recently recorded in Tarija (Bolivia). Common over most of its extremely wide range but populations in some areas are... read more

    Recommended citation

    Stiles, F.G., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Fork-tailed Woodnymph (Thalurania furcata). 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 3 April 2020).