Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

White-eared Hummingbird (Basilinna leucotis)


French: Saphir à oreilles blanches German: Purpurstirn-Saphirkolibri Spanish: Colibrí orejiblanco

Trochilus leucotis


, 1818,

Brazil; error = Orizaba, Veracruz


Closely related to B. xantusii. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • B. l. borealis (Griscom, 1929) – N Mexico (E Sonora, W Chihuahua, and S Coahuila to SW Tamaulipas); rarely to SW USA (SE Arizona).
  • B. l. leucotis (Vieillot, 1818) – highlands of C & S Mexico (S from Durango and San Luis Potosí) to Guatemala.
  • B. l. pygmaea Simon & Hellmayr, 1908 – highlands of El Salvador, Honduras and NC Nicaragua.
  • Descriptive notes

    9–10 cm; male c. 3·6 g, female c. 3·2 g. Male has straight bill, red, tipped black; forehead glittering violet, white postocular stripe, ear-coverts... read more


    Song a series of a repeated (usually doubled) notes, “chi-dit..chi-dit..chi-dit...” or simply “tink... read more


    Pine–oak forest, pine–evergreen forest, clearings, at 1200–3500 m. Forages in low... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on nectar of flowering Agave, Bidens, various Salvia species, Penstemon, Cuphea and... read more


    Mar–Aug in N & C Mexico; May–Aug and Nov–Feb, possibly all year round, in S Mexico; Aug–Dec for race ... read more


    Some migratory activity in northern part of range, where species is most abundant from Apr to Oct,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. CITES II. Common and widespread throughout much of range. No immediate threat recorded; however, parts of its forest habitat are under threat of... read more

    Recommended citation

    Züchner, T. & Boesman, P. (2020). White-eared Hummingbird (Basilinna leucotis). 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).