Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Horned Sungem (Heliactin bilophus)


French: Colibri aux huppes d’or German: Goldhauben-Schmuckkolibri Spanish: Colibrí cornudito

Trochilus bilophus


, 1820,



Species of uncertain systematic position; external morphology and behaviour indicate close affinities with Heliothryx and Loddigesia (though latter now found to be very close to Eriocnemis#R). Species name often given as H. cornutus, but bilophus has priority by one year#R. Monotypic.


Extreme S Suriname through CN, E & C Brazil (Amapá; S Maranhão to Alagoas and Bahia S to São Paulo and W to W Mato Grosso, irregularly to Rondônia) to E Bolivia (Santa Cruz). Reported also from Acre (extreme W Brazil) and S Amazonas (WC Brazil)#R.

Descriptive notes

9·5–11 cm; 1·8–2·8 g. Male has short, straight, black bill; centre of crown shining dark blue, lateral crown tufts glittering red, blue and... read more


 A complex twittering comprising squeaky, burry and buzzy notes during chases. Calls include a... read more


Forest along rivers, woodland, cerrado, open grassland and gardens to 1000 m, most... read more

Food and feeding

Nectar of flowering bushes and trees like Stachytarpheta, Lantana, Citrus, Malvaviscus, Palicourea... read more


Mainly Jun–Oct, but nest with recently fledged young recorded in Mato Grosso in early Jun. Near Brasília, nests have been... read more


Migratory in parts of C & E Brazil (Distríto Federal, Minas Gerais, Bahia, Espí... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. CITES II. Locally common. Readily accepts man-made open habitats such as gardens and cultivated areas. Has recently spread to Espírito Santo (... read more

Recommended citation

Schuchmann, K.L., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2019). Horned Sungem (Heliactin bilophus). 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 9 December 2019).