Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Vervain Hummingbird (Mellisuga minima)


French: Colibri nain German: Zwergelfe Spanish: Colibrí zumbadorcito

Trochilus minimus


, 1758,



Present species has often been treated as sole member of genus. Subspecies name vielloti sometimes emended to vieilloti, but former is the original spelling and internal evidence does not justify emendation#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. m. minima (Linnaeus, 1758) – Jamaica.
  • M. m. vielloti (Shaw, 1812) – Hispaniola and nearby islands of Tortue, Gonâve, Vache, Catalina and Saona.
  • Descriptive notes

    6–7 cm; male 2·7 g, female 3·6 g. Tiny, with dull metallic bronze-green upperparts and generally dull white underparts; bill is straight and dull black.... read more


    Song, from exposed perch, a fairly loud, long sequence of high-pitched, metallic squeaky notes.... read more


    Open broadleaf deciduous and pine woodland, scrub, shade-coffee plantations, shrubbery and gardens... read more

    Food and feeding

    Nectar of Pachystachys, Anacardium, Asclepias, Bourreria, Cordia, Lemaireocereus,... read more


    Season year-round, but mainly Dec–May on Hispaniola and Dec–Feb on Jamaica. Nest-site often low down near the ground in bushes... read more


    No reliable information available, although strong altitudinal migrations have been suspected on... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Restricted-range species: present in Jamaica EBA and Hispaniola EBA. Occurs on several major satellite islands of... read more

    Recommended citation

    Chai, P., Boesman, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Vervain Hummingbird (Mellisuga minima). 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).