Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Rufous-breasted Hermit (Glaucis hirsutus)


French: Ermite hirsute German: Rotschwanz-Schattenkolibri Spanish: Ermitaño hirsuto
Other common names: Hairy Hermit

Trochilus hirsutus

J. F. Gmelin

, 1788,

north-eastern Brazil


Sister-species of G. aeneus, and often considered conspecific but they meet in W Panama and W Colombia without interbreeding; present species interrupts former probably continuous distribution of G. aeneus and presumably in gradual process of replacing it. Several attempts made to subdivide present species into races, with affinis (of the Guianas), mazeppa (CE Brazil) and abrawayae (SE Brazil) described on basis of plumage differences in immature and adult males and females, but these did not take into consideration intraspecific variation in coloration and measurements independent of geography; only birds from Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago are morphologically separable. Includes proposed taxon Threnetes grzimeki, based on immature male plumage. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. h. insularum Hellmayr & Seilern, 1913 – Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago.
  • G. h. hirsutus (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) – C Panama to Colombia W of Andes, and E of Andes S to C Bolivia, and through Venezuela to the Guianas and N, W & E Brazil.
  • Descriptive notes

    10–12 cm; male 5–8·2 g, female 5·5–8·5 g. A medium-sized hermit with dark green upperparts, brownish-rufous underparts, slightly... read more


    Song is a very variable high-pitched descending phrase rendered “tsee-tsee-tsi-tsi-tsi”,... read more


    Understorey of many types of forest (even locally caatinga of NE Brazil) and dense... read more

    Food and feeding

    Nectar of Heliconia (e.g. H. bihai), Centropogon (e.g. C. surinamensis), Pachystachys, ... read more


    Season Dec–Aug on Grenada, Jan–Aug on Trinidad, Apr–Jul in Panama, Sept–May in Brazil. Nest records in Sept in SE... read more


    No reliable information available. Presumably sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Generally common throughout much of its extensive range, especially in Amazonia; the most commonly mist-netted hummingbird... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hinkelmann, C., Boesman, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Rufous-breasted Hermit (Glaucis hirsutus). 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 24 January 2020).