Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird (Amazilia tzacatl)


French: Ariane à ventre gris German: Braunschwanzamazilie Spanish: Amazilia tzacatl

Trochilus Tzacatl

De la Llave

, 1833,



Closely related to A. castaneiventris, but not, as claimed, to A. yucatanensis and A. rutila. Race handleyi has been treated as a distinct species on basis of being “considerably larger and heavier” and “slightly darker bronze-green above” (HBW), but considered disqualified by zone of morphometric intergradation with nominate in Bocas del Toro Archipelago; genetic evidence also unfavourable to species status#R, and material in USNM shows no colour difference in plumage; however, difference in size exceptional (effect size for wing length 11.1, score 4), while narrow zone of intergradation scores 2, so species status almost achieved. Validity of race fuscicaudata has been questioned, but supported by morphometric characters. Form A. bangsi is a hybrid of present species and A. rutila. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. t. tzacatl (De la Llave, 1833) – Rufous-tailed Hummingbird – E Mexico (S Veracruz, N Oaxaca) S to WC Panama (W Darién).
  • A. t. fuscicaudata (Fraser, 1840) – N & W Colombia (Cauca and Magdalena Valleys) and W Venezuela (W Lara, W Táchira).
  • A. t. jucunda (Heine, 1863) – lowlands and W slope in W Colombia (Chocó) and W Ecuador (S to W Loja).
  • A. t. brehmi Weller & Schuchmann, 1999 – Andes of SW Colombia (upper R Guiza, in Nariño).
  • A. t. handleyi Wetmore, 1963 – Escudo Hummingbird – I Escudo de Veraguas, off NW Panama.
  • Descriptive notes

    8–11 cm; male 4·4–5·5 g, female 5·2 g, race handleyi (unsexed) 7 g. Male has bill straight, medium-sized, fleshy red with dark tip,... read more


    Song quite variable, typically a phrase of 2–4 thin high-pitched notes that is repeated, e.g. “tsee... read more


    Edges of humid evergreen forest, clearings, plantations of bananas or coffee, human habitations;... read more

    Food and feeding

    Nectar and arthropods. Found in all strata from near the ground to the more open sides of tree crowns; frequently gathers in some numbers... read more


    Almost year-round. In N Middle America, nesting records Dec–Sept; in Mexico, mainly Mar–Aug, correlated with moulting period... read more


    In humid regions generally more sedentary than in arid areas; more or less all year round... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Common to very common in most of range, e.g. Canal Zone of Panama. Less abundant in regions with tropical dry forest, dense... read more

    Recommended citation

    Weller, A.A. & Boesman, P. (2019). Rufous-tailed Hummingbird (Amazilia tzacatl). 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 7 December 2019).