Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Red-legged Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes cyaneus)


French: Guit-guit saï German: Türkisnaschvogel Spanish: Mielerito patirrojo

Certhia cyanea


, 1766,



See C. caeruleus. Geographical variation slight, and some races may not warrant recognition; proposed race ramdseni (described from Cuba, where probably introduced) subsumed into nominate. Eleven subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. carneipes (P. L. Sclater, 1860) – SE Mexico (from San Luis Potosí on Gulf slope and Oaxaca on Pacific slope) S including Cozumel I (off NE Quintana Roo) to Panama, including Coiba I and Pearl Is, and NW Colombia (upper Sinú Valley, at N end of W Andes, in Córdoba).
  • C. c. gemmeus Wetmore, 1941 – Serranía de Macuira (Guajira Peninsula), in N Colombia.
  • C. c. eximius (Cabanis, 1851) – N Colombia (Santa Marta region, Sierra de Perijá, and W slope of E Andes in Santander) and W & N Venezuela (W Zulia, base of both slopes of Andes, mountains of N Falcón and Yaracuy, and coastal cordillera from Carabobo E to Sucre); also Margarita I.
  • C. c. cyaneus (Linnaeus, 1766) – E Venezuela (Monagas, Delta Amacuro and Bolívar E of R Caura); Trinidad; the Guianas and NW Brazil (S to R Negro and mouth of R Amazon).
  • C. c. tobagensis Hellmayr & Seilern, 1914 – Tobago.
  • C. c. pacificus Chapman, 1915 – W Colombia (Pacific coast S from Baudó Mts) and W Ecuador (S to Pichincha).
  • C. c. gigas Thayer & Bangs, 1905 – Gorgona I, off W Colombia.
  • C. c. brevipes (Cabanis, 1851) – middle and lower R Amazon from at least Manacapuru E to middle R Tocantins.
  • C. c. dispar J. T. Zimmer, 1942 – Colombia E of Andes (from Meta and R Negro–R Guainía region) E to SW Venezuela (Amazonas), NW Brazil (E to R Negro and R Juruá), E Ecuador (rare), and NE Peru (S to Yarinacocha).
  • C. c. violaceus J. T. Zimmer, 1942 – SE Peru, N Bolivia, and W Brazil (E to Mato Grosso).
  • C. c. holti Parkes, 1977 – coastal E Brazil from Alagoas S to Rio de Janeiro.
  • Also Cuba, where probably introduced.

    Descriptive notes

    11–13 cm; 11–18·3 g. The largest Cyanerpes honeycreeper, both sexes with long (13–25 mm), slender and usually distinctly decurved bill, and... read more


    Rather noisy, often calls constantly, especially when in groups foraging high in trees, but most... read more


    Dry to moist and humid areas, where fond of flowering trees at forest edges, coffee and cacao... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly fruits and arthropods. Of twelve stomachs examined, eight contained only vegetable matter and two only animal matter, and two... read more


    Reported in May in Mexico, season Feb–Jun in Costa Rica, Feb in Panama, probably Mar–Jul in Trinidad; in Brazil, Sept and Dec... read more


    Some local movements, both horizontal and elevational, apparently in response to availability of... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally common to locally abundant, at least seasonally, over most of range; widespread. Single record from Jamaica probably involved an escaped... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hilty, S. (2020). Red-legged Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes cyaneus). 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 18 January 2020).