Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Short-tailed Emerald (Chlorostilbon poortmani)


French: Émeraude à queue courte German: Grünschwanz-Smaragdkolibri Spanish: Esmeralda colicorta
Other common names: Berlepsch's Emerald (“inexpectatus”)

Ornismya poortmani


, 1843,



Closely related to C. stenurus. Hitherto subspecies alice treated as a separate species, but differences apparently slight: in sample of ten males of each form in AMNH, alice 1–2 mm shorter in wing and tail and 2–3 mm shorter in bill, but plumages seemingly identical; claim that male alice has “small patch of metallic orange at base of bill”#R intriguing, but not supported by specimen evidence or other literature, and descriptions in literature of tails of females of two taxa contradictory; clearer evidence needed for acceptance of alice as species. Race euchloris has sometimes been considered a separate species, owing mainly to suggestion of possible overlap in range, but poorly known. Described forms inexpectatus and auratus, known from single specimens from “Bogotá” and “Peru” (Peru not part of range), respectively, are apparently aberrant individuals of present species. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. p. alice (Bourcier & Mulsant, 1848) – Green-tailed Emerald – mountainous regions of N Venezuela from Falcón (Sierra de San Luis) S to Lara and Trujillo, and E to Sucre and N Monagas.
  • C. p. poortmani (Bourcier, 1843) – Short-tailed Emerald – Andes in W Venezuela (Mérida and Táchira) and E slope of E Andes of Colombia (from Boyacá S to W Meta).
  • C. p. euchloris (Reichenbach, 1854) – E Andes of Colombia (W slope S to Huila, and E slope in Santander).
  • Descriptive notes

    Male 6·9–8·5 cm, female 6·5–7·5 cm; 3–4 g. Male has short (0·5–0·6 cm), straight, black bill; forehead... read more


    Possible song a long series of high-pitched “tseep” notes at rate of c. 1·5 notes/second;... read more


    Humid forest, forest edge, open woodland, second growth, coffee and banana plantations and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly visits non-pendent (horizontal or upright) flowers such as Elleanthus, Guzmania and Phaseolus, but also... read more


    Jan–Mar (alice) and May–Jun (poortmani). Cup-shaped nest has a thin and soft texture created by cotton or... read more


    Sedentary, but seasonal elevation movements are suspected for nominate poortmani given... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. CITES II. Present in following EBAs, W to E: Caripe-Paria Region EBA, Cordillera de la Costa Central EBA, Cordillera de Mérida EBA and... read more

    Recommended citation

    Bündgen, R., Boesman, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Short-tailed Emerald (Chlorostilbon poortmani). 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 25 February 2020).