Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Golden-crowned Emerald (Chlorostilbon auriceps)


French: Émeraude couronnée German: Goldscheitel-Smaragdkolibri Spanish: Esmeralda mexicana

Trochilus (——?) auriceps


, 1852,



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 races (present species with forficatus, 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, present form is specifically distinct from geographically closest member of the C. mellisugus complex, C. canivetii, on account of much longer and narrower rectrices (allow 3); strong golden wash on crown and upperparts in male (2); greyer lower underparts in male (1); female with white base of outer rectrix vs white on mid-length in canivetii#R (1); and, as the characters in canivetii are shared by other taxa except forficatus (see below), the status of auriceps as a species is accepted here. Monotypic.

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

W & C Mexico from Sinaloa and SW Durango S to Guerrero and Oaxaca, and inland to S Morelos.

Descriptive notes

7·5–9·5 cm; mean 2·2 g. Adult male has very long and deeply forked tail, with head and body emerald-green, more glittering on crown and underparts, and blue-black tail (inner... read more


Dry rattling and chattering calls, considered to be slightly harder than those of Cynanthus... read more


Brushy woodland and scrub, with overgrown clearings, as well as forest edge, mainly in arid to semi... read more

Food and feeding

No known differences from other members of C. mellisugus complex. Observed taking nectar at Lantana flowers.


Season Feb–Jul. Clutch two white eggs. No further information, but most aspects of breeding presumably similar to those of C.... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Fairly common to common, with an estimated population of 50,000–499,999 individuals.

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Golden-crowned Emerald (Chlorostilbon auriceps). 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 6 December 2019).