Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Pale-tailed Barbthroat (Threnetes leucurus)


French: Ermite à queue blanche German: Orangekehl-Schattenkolibri Spanish: Ermitaño barbudo coliblanco
Other common names: White-tailed Barbthroat (leucurus), Cristina's Barbthroat (“cristinae”)

Trochilus leucurus


, 1766,

South America = Suriname


Treated as conspecific with T. niger in HBW, but this arrangement not followed here, although situation unclear and several options plausible: (a) arrangement posited here (for which see T. niger); (b) same arrangement as (a) but with race loehkeni transferred to T. niger; (c) same arrangement as (a) but with loehkeni elevated to monotypic species level; (d) all relevant taxa treated as conspecific as in HBW. Since there are several regions from which no or only a few specimens have been secured, exact limits of racial distributions not yet reliably determined. In W Amazonia, two zones of character intergradation exist between races cervinicauda and rufigastra on the one hand, and rufigastra and leucurus on the other, apparent in belly and tail coloration. Proposed race freirei from Amapá (N Brazil) is inseparable from a dull male loehkeni; proposed race cristinae is a synonym of loehkeni. Five subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. l. cervinicauda Gould, 1855 – E Colombia S to NE Peru and adjacent W Amazonian Brazil.
  • T. l. rufigastra Cory, 1915 – CE Peru (S of R Marañón) to N Bolivia (Beni).
  • T. l. leucurus (Linnaeus, 1766) – Pale-tailed Barbthroat – S & E Venezuela to Guyana and Suriname S through Amazonian Brazil to N Bolivia; rare in French Guiana.
  • T. l. medianus Hellmayr, 1929 – NE Brazil S of Amazon (Pará).
  • T. l. loehkeni Grantsau, 1969 – Bronze-tailed Barbthroat – NE Brazil N of Amazon (Amapá).
  • Descriptive notes

    10–12·2 cm; male 4–7 g, female 4–6·5 g (mean 6 ± 0·6 g or 5·26 ± 0·86 g; sexes combined). Similar to allopatric T. ruckeri, but with more extensive black throat and... read more


    Song a fast high-pitched phrase of 5–10 notes repeated at intervals of several seconds (similar to... read more


    More open places in humid lowland and higher-altitude tropical forest, river edge forest,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Nectar of Heliconia, Costus, Monotagma and other flowering species, as well as small arthropods. Total of nine... read more


    Sept–Mar (race medianus), with additional nests recorded May, Sept and Oct in NE Brazil S of Amazon; Jan–Mar in Guyana; data on... read more


    Presumably sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Local and generally uncommon throughout distribution range, with, e.g., few records from the Brazilian state of Rondônia,... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Pale-tailed Barbthroat (Threnetes leucurus). 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 29 February 2020).