Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Green Violet-ear (Colibri thalassinus)


French: Colibri thalassin German: Kleiner Veilchenohrkolibri Spanish: Colibrí verdemar

Trochilus thalassinus


, 1827,

Tamascáltepec, state of Mexico, Mexico


The three S races have sometimes been considered a separate species, C. cyanotus. Races cyanotus and crissalis apparently intergrade through Colombia and Ecuador, and their distinctness has been questioned. Formerly recognized race minor (Honduras and Nicaragua) is now usually subsumed within nominate. Five subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. t. thalassinus (Swainson, 1827) – Mexican Violet-ear – C & S Mexico S to Honduras.
  • C. t. cabanidis (Heine, 1863) – mountains of Costa Rica and W Panama.
  • C. t. cyanotus (Bourcier, 1843) – Mountain Violet-ear – mountains of Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador.
  • C. t. kerdeli Aveledo & Pérez, 1991 – mountains of NE Venezuela (Sucre, Monagas).
  • C. t. crissalis Todd, 1942 – E slope of Andes of Peru and Bolivia (to W Santa Cruz). Recorded also in NW Argentina (Tucumán).
  • Descriptive notes

    10·5–11·5 cm; male 5·7 g, female 4·8 g, unsexed 4·2–5·6 g. Plumage mostly a rather bluish green, with subterminal blue-... read more


    Very vocal, even during heat of day. Song quite variable, an endlessly repeated series of multiple... read more


    Open, shrubby mountain slopes and highland pastures with scattered trees, forest edge adjoining... read more

    Food and feeding

    Visits flowers of a variety of herbs (Salvia, Lobelia, Cirsium), shrubs (Centropogon, Cephaelis... read more


    Mainly late wet to dry seasons, Jul–Nov (C Mexico), Sept or Nov–Mar (Guatemala), Sept–Jan (El Salvador), Oct–Mar (... read more


    No long-distance migrations have been documented, but in most areas the species moves to lower... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Locally common to abundant over most of its wide range; has probably benefited from deforestation and habitat alteration in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Stiles, F.G., Boesman, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Green Violet-ear (Colibri thalassinus). 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).