Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Plain-capped Starthroat (Heliomaster constantii)


French: Colibri de Constant German: Funkenkehlkolibri Spanish: Colibrí pochotero

Ornismya Constantii


, 1843,

Guatemala; error = Bolsón, Costa Rica


Present species and H. longirostris occasionally separated in genus Anthoscenus on basis of squarish tail, rounded rectrices and details of bill morphology; the distinguishing features, however, vary in a continuum between these species and H. furcifer, with H. squamosus occupying intermediate position, and treatment of all four as congeners now generally accepted. Intergradation between race leocadiae and nominate apparently occurs in El Salvador. Proposed race surdus of W Mexico now usually considered a synonym of leocadiae. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. c. pinicola (Gould, 1853) – W Mexico (Sonora S to Jalisco).
  • H. c. leocadiae (Bourcier & Mulsant, 1852) – SW & S Mexico (Michoacán to Chiapas) and Guatemala.
  • H. c. constantii (DeLattre, 1843) – El Salvador S on Pacific slope to S Costa Rica.
  • Descriptive notes

    11·5–12·5 cm; male 8·1 g, female 7·2 g. Male has straight black bill; upperparts dark bronzy green, duskier on the crown, with distinctive... read more


    Calls include a fairly melodious, upslurred “week” or “tseek” given in direct flight or while... read more


    Canopy and edge of dry deciduous forest, borders of evergreen gallery forest, dry scrub, isolated... read more

    Food and feeding

    Nectar of various trees (Erythrina, Ceiba, Tabebuia, Bombacopsis, Genipa), large cacti (... read more


    Late wet and early dry seasons, Oct–Jan or Feb (El Salvador, Costa Rica); Mar (perhaps) to Jun in NW Mexico (fledged young reported... read more


    Apparently migratory at extreme N end of range, disappearing between Oct–Nov and Feb,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Uncommon to locally common; several protected areas are to be found in its range, such as Guanacaste, Santa Rosa and Palo... read more

    Recommended citation

    Stiles, F.G., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2019). Plain-capped Starthroat (Heliomaster constantii). 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 15 November 2019).