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.
Food and feeding
Status and conservation
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