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Green-breasted Mountain-gem - BirdForum Opus

Alternative Names: Green-breasted Mountaingem

Probably a young bird
Photo by Tom Jenner
La Tigra, Honduras, August 2003
Lampornis sybillae


11–12 cm
This species is generally quite easy to identify because the features can all be seen without the need for direct lighting to show the colours.
It is a fairly large hummigbird with a medium length, straight bill that is all dark.
In all plumages, there is a bold white stripe behind the eye. The outer tail feathers are white, which are most easily seen as the birds opens the tail in flight. In males the underparts are all green, though younger birds can show some whiter areas. The female has white underparts, but usually has a buffy throat.

Similar Species

Green-breasted Mountain-gem is allopatric. from Green-throated Mountain-gem, but in places there is only 50km separating populations so there is the possibility of wandering birds (though this has never been reported) causing identification problems or where the observer is uncertain about the location of the line separating the populations. Male Green-throateds have green throats, sharply contrasting white breasts, and have greyish outer tail feathers. Male Green-breasted are entirely green below (though see the attached photo of a probable first year bird that has some white), usually with no visible demarcation between the gorget and the rest of the underparts, and have a distinct white tail flash. Female Green-breasteds generally have the throat entirely buff, while the throat of Green-throated is white at all ages. The closely related and sympatric Amethyst-throated Mountain-gem has a distinctly downcurved bill, compared with the straight bills of the two Mountain-gem species. Rivoli's Hummingbird has a much longer bill and a white post-occular spot rather than the white stripe of Green-breasted. White-eared Hummingbird is smaller and has a red bill.


Central America
This species has a very small world distribution that is limited to the highlands of Honduras east of the Sula Valley and western Nicaragua.


This species has sometimes been lumped with Green-throated Mountain-gem Lampornis viridipalens which inhabits similar habitats to the west of the Sula Valley in Honduras, Guatemala and southern Mexico. The two are currently classified as separate species by the AOU. A discussion of the two forms is made by Monroe, B. L. Jr. (1963) A revision of the Lampornis viridipallens complex (Aves: Trochilidae). Occas. Papers Mus. Zool., Louisiana State Univ., no 27, pp1-10, discussed also in Monroe (1968) 'A distributional survey of the birds of Honduras'.

This is a monotypic species[1].


Mainly cloud forest, but also pine-evergreen forest. Especially abundant, or possibly just more easily observed, in edge and second growth habitat. Generally found in highlands with Howell and Webb (1995) giving a range of between 1400 and 2200m. However, there are also occasional records from much lower, at under 200m, for example at The Lodge at Pico Bonito in northern Honduras.


There is little information published on the behaviour of this species.

Generally found perching in the open at low to mid levels in fairly open areas.


Their main diet consists of nectar, though they also eat spiders and small insects.


The nest is still unknown.


They usually sing early in the morning from a concealed perch. Occasionally sings in flight.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9., with updates to August 2014. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. neotropical.birds.cornell.edu

Recommended Citation

External Links

A page on this species with many photos can be found in the bird database of http://tomjenner.com/mayanbirding/thebirds_gre_brea_mount_gem.html