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Version 1.0

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Green Hermit Phaethornis guy

Alice McBride
Version: 1.0 — Published August 31, 2012



Green Hermit primarily forages in the understory, although it may ascend to the subcanopy when visiting flowering Columnea (Stiles and Skutch 1989). Forages by "trap-lining", following a regular route through the forest to visit scattered flowers or clusters of flowers (Stiles and Skutch 1989), concentrating on larger rather than smaller flowers, and sometimes feeding on flowering trees in gardens. Also examines the twigs and leaves of saplings and shrubs, searching for insects (Snow and Snow 1972), and gleans spiders gleaned from webs and from vegetation (Stiles and Skutch 1989).


During the breeding season, lekking males perch and defend their territories by singing and displaying. Males also defend by chasing away interlopers (Snow 1974, MacDougall-Shackleton and Harbison 1998). Territory size varies; at a lek at Monteverde, Costa Rica, territories ranged from 112-505 m2, with five- m wide neutral zones along adjoining boundaries (Harger and Lyon 1980).

Sexual Behavior

Males display at leks, of up to 20 individuals, in dense undergrowth during the breeding season (Stiles and Skutch 1989).When a female arrives at a lek, males increase their rate of song and begin displaying more vigorously, spreading out their tails and fanning them rapidly up and down. A female hovers above a male on his perch, displays are exchanged, and mating occurs. Females usually visit multiple males in quick succession. Males are also often observed participating in false-matings at the lek, with a leaf or other small piece of vegetation (Snow 1974).

Social and interspecific behavior

Solitary when foraging; otherwise, males sing and display communally in leks (see Sexual Behavior). Interspecific behavior and social behavior outside of the breeding system are not well-studied.


No information available.

Recommended Citation

McBride, A. (2012). Green Hermit (Phaethornis guy), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.greher1.01