Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Grey-tailed Mountain-gem (Lampornis cinereicauda)


French: Colibri à queue grise German: Grauschwanznymphe Spanish: Colibrí coligrís

Oreopyra cinereicauda


, 1867,

Costa Rica


Classification unstable; commonly treated as conspecific with L. calolaemus and L. castaneoventris, but, while females of all taxa are very similar, combination of highly distinctive male plumages and parapatric distributions, along with observations that where white-throated and purple-throated forms occur on the same slopes they tend to segregate altitudinally (white-throated higher), suggests species status more appropriate; hybridization is very limited, and many previous reports of hybrids may refer to young birds. Thus, cinereicauda achieves species status, distinct from castaneoventris by its blue vs green forecrown (3), grey vs dark blue tail (3) and parapatry (3), and from calolaemus by its white vs purple throat (3), grey vs dark blue tail (3) and parapatry (3). Monotypic.


Cordillera de Talamanca, in S Costa Rica.

Descriptive notes

10–11·5 cm; male 5·7–6·2 g, female 4·7–5·1 g. Previously considered conspecific with L. calolaemus and L.... read more


Song a mixture of sputtering and bubbling notes. Calls include a repeated, somewhat nasal “peek” or... read more


Inhabits colder montane forests, especially of oak. Mostly occurs at 1850–3000m; in areas... read more

Food and feeding

Foraging and food probably largely identical to L. castaneoventris: males, in particular, defend territories around flowers of... read more


Mostly wet season, Oct–Apr. Nest is compact cup of pale or brownish plant down, fine fibres, treefern scales, sprigs of fine... read more


Descends to lower elevations following breeding, down to 1200–1500 m.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. CITES II. Over most parts of small range (estimated at just 6300 km²) one of the commonest mountain hummingbirds; however, the contact area between... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Grey-tailed Mountain-gem (Lampornis cinereicauda). 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 24 February 2020).