Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Green Honeycreeper (Chlorophanes spiza)


French: Tangara émeraude German: Kappennaschvogel Spanish: Mielerito verde

Motacilla Spiza


, 1758,



Described taxon C. purpurascens, known from one specimen from “Caracas” (Vene­zuela) and once regarded as a distinct species, now believed to be a hybrid Chlorophanes × unknown taxon. Race guatemalensis doubtfully distinct; retained pending review. Seven subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. s. guatemalensis P. L. Sclater, 1861 – S Mexico (Gulf–Caribbean slope from Oaxaca and Chiapas) S to E Guatemala, Belize and Honduras.
  • C. s. argutus Bangs & Barbour, 1922 – extreme E Honduras, E Nicaragua, and on both sides of Costa Rica and Panama S to NW Colombia (N Chocó S to Baudó Mts).
  • C. s. exsul Berlepsch & Taczanowski, 1884 – SW Colombia (Pacific coast from Valle del Cauca) S to SW Ecuador.
  • C. s. subtropicalis Todd, 1924 – Colombia (on slopes of all three Andean ranges), Sierra de Perijá, and W base of Andes in Venezuela (Táchira and Mérida).
  • C. s. spiza (Linnaeus, 1758) – Venezuela (coastal cordillera from Carabobo E to Sucre and N Monagas; E base of Andes from Barinas S to Táchira; and area S of R Orinoco), Trinidad, the Guianas, extreme E Colombia (R Negro–R Guainía) and N Brazil (E from R Uaupés and, S of R Amazon, from middle R Purus E to Pará and coast of Maranhão).
  • C. s. caerulescens Cassin, 1864 – Colombia (Cauca and Magdalena Valleys, and E base of E Andes from Arauca) S through E Ecuador and E Peru to C Bolivia, and E in WC Brazil to S Mato Grosso.
  • C. s. axillaris J. T. Zimmer, 1929 – coastal E & SE Brazil (Pernambuco S to Santa Catarina).
  • Descriptive notes

    13 cm; 14–23 g. Comparatively large honeycreeper with long, slightly decurved and pointed bill. Male nominate race has crown and side of head to point on rear cheek... read more


    Variety of “tsip” notes and high, sharp “pseet”, some calls weak, others... read more


    Humid and wet forest, second-growth woodland, wooded and shrubby borders, older second growth, and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruit and arthropods; almost certainly also nectar from flowers and juice from fruits. Of 35 stomachs examined, 23 contained only vegetable... read more


    Season Apr–Jul (peak activity May), occasionally as late as Sept, in Costa Rica, with one record of a fledgling being fed in early... read more


    Resident. Some very local seasonal shifts may occur in response to availability of fruit and nectar. read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common. Widespread, and found in many parks and other protected areas across its vast range. Populations of some Middle American... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hilty, S. (2019). Green Honeycreeper (Chlorophanes spiza). 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 10 December 2019).