Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Reddish Hermit (Phaethornis ruber)


French: Ermite roussâtre German: Roter Zwergschattenkolibri Spanish: Ermitaño rojizo

Trochilus ruber


, 1758,



One of the small hermits sometimes separated in genus Pygmornis. Forms a species-group with P. stuarti, and the two are often considered conspecific; there is very close geographical contact, if not sympatry, and one natural hybrid recorded. Other close relatives are P. atrimentalis, P. striigularis and P. griseogularis. A zone of character introgression exists between nominate and race longipennis, but no such zone has been found between present species and P. stuarti. Future investigation may confirm species status for current races episcopus and nigricinctus, other taxa apparently lacking introgession with nominate ruber. Birds of SE Brazil proposed as race pygmaeus, but claimed differences took insufficient account of age- and sex-related individual variation homogeneously distributed over entire range of nominate race. Synonyms for this species include P. rufiventris and P. rufigaster. A supposed hybrid of nominate with P. rupurumii was later found to be a separate species (see P. aethopygus). Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. r. episcopus Gould, 1857 – C & E Venezuela, Guyana and adjacent N Brazil (Roraima).
  • P. r. ruber (Linnaeus, 1758) – Suriname and French Guiana through Brazil to SE Peru and N Bolivia.
  • P. r. nigricinctus Lawrence, 1858 – extreme SW Venezuela and E & S Colombia S to E Ecuador, NE Peru and NW Brazil.
  • P. r. longipennis Berlepsch & Stolzmann, 1902 – foothills in SE Peru (Pasco to N Cuzco).
  • Descriptive notes

    8–9 cm; 1·8–3 g. A small hermit hummingbird with dark green upperparts and cinnamon-rufous underparts. Male regularly has some dark feathers forming a... read more


    Song a high-pitched phrase repeated incessantly with clear pauses between phrases, at a rate of c.... read more


    Understorey of lowland, pre-montane and littoral rainforest of the terra firme, v... read more

    Food and feeding

    Nectar and small arthropods. Flowering plants visited include Trichanthera, Petraea, Costus, Dahlstedtia... read more


    May–Oct in NE Brazil, Oct–Feb in SE Brazil; active nests found in Jan, May–Oct in the Guianas. Data on gonadal condition... read more


    No reliable information available. Presumably sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. CITES II. Locally common to abundant. Sites at which species is frequently recorded are many and include: Imataca Forest Reserve, Bolívar (... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hinkelmann, C., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Reddish Hermit (Phaethornis ruber). 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 21 January 2020).