Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Sooty Barbthroat (Threnetes niger)


French: Ermite d’Antonia German: Rußschattenkolibri Spanish: Ermitaño barbudo guayanés
Other common names: Pale-tailed Barbthroat (when lumped with T. leucurus)

Trochilus niger


, 1758,



HBW lumped this taxon with T. leucurus as a “melanistic form of geographically limited distribution, based on apomorphic characters within the range of variation found in leucurus; otherwise the two are apparently inseparable, so conspecific treatment seems appropriate, with older name niger claiming priority”, adding that the race loehkeni “appears to be intermediate between leucurus and niger”. Specimen evidence in AMNH, however, suggests that loehkeni is much closer to leucurus than to present species, and that latter differs from all other taxa in the aggregate T. leucurus in having no rufous throatband (3), no pale moustache and belly (3), no white or buff in tail (2 from loehkeni; 3 from cervinicauda, rufigastra, leucurus and medianus). A similar conclusion seems to have been independently reached#R, but other evidence from Amapá suggests an interpretation that continues to place loehkeni with present species#R, while in N Pará individuals from the same locality attributed to T. niger but with divergent tail patterns suggest either that niger is more variable than previously thought (with a distinct morph or taxon in W of its range) or that some intergradation with T. leucurus is occurring in the area#R; clearly, further work is needed, and present arrangement may change as a result. Monotypic.


French Guiana and adjacent Brazil (Amapá and N Pará#R).

Descriptive notes

10–12 cm (bill 2·7–2·9 cm). Similar to T. ruckeri, but with more extensive black throat and iridescent green plumage on breast, otherwise... read more


No information: only purported description in the literature is erroneously based on T.... read more


More open places in humid lowland and higher-altitude tropical forest, river edge forest,... read more

Food and feeding

Very few data, but diet and foraging techniques probably largely similar to those of T. leucurus; favoured plants reported to... read more


Nothing known.


Presumably sedentary.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. CITES II. Local and generally uncommon throughout comparatively small range, being known only parts of French Guiana (where present at Saint Georges... read more

Recommended citation

Hinkelmann, C., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Sooty Barbthroat (Threnetes niger). 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 27 January 2020).