Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Rufous-capped Thornbill (Chalcostigma ruficeps)


French: Métallure à tête rousse German: Kastanienkappen-Glanzschwänzchen Spanish: Colibrí capirrufo

Trochilus (——?) ruficeps


, 1846,



Previously placed in genus Metallura; alternatively, has been separated in monotypic genus Selatopogon. Birds of Ecuador have been described as a geographical race, aureofastigatum, but this variation now shown to be one extreme of a clinal character progression involving coloration of ornamental throat feathers. Monotypic.


E slope of Andes of SE Ecuador (Zamora-Chinchipe) through Peru to WC Bolivia (Yungas of Cochabamba). Single record from Pan de Azúcar, in C Andes of Colombia, where status uncertain.

Descriptive notes

10·5 cm; 3·3–3·9 g. Male has short, straight, black bill; upperparts bottle-green, underparts rufous mottled green, especially at sides; crown... read more


Poorly known. Calls include a short  dry double rattle “trr-trr” repeated at intervals, and a... read more


From humid second growth and riparian thickets to borders and glades in humid montane forest and... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds on nectar of Melastomataceae flowers (Miconia, Tibouchina), Vallea stipularis and Fuchsia canescens... read more


Dec–Mar in Bolivia. Enlarged gonads in Aug in Bolivia, Jul–Oct in Peru. Clutch two white eggs; incubation by female.


No information; possibly undertakes seasonal altitudinal movements. Individuals recorded at Pan... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. CITES II. Generally uncommon. Apparently less sensitive to man-induced environmental changes than other Chalcostigma species, since also... read more

Recommended citation

Heindl, M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Rufous-capped Thornbill (Chalcostigma ruficeps). 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 29 February 2020).