Little Hermit Phaethornis longuemareus
Version: 1.0 — Published December 12, 2014
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Phaethornis hermits are small to medium-sized hummingbirds with dull colored plumage. All species of Phaethornis have very long, slender bills, which in many species are slightly curved, and also have long, graduated tails in which the central pair rectrices usually are particularly elongated. Little Hermit is a small hermit, with an olive green back and a contrasting pale rufous rump, tawny underparts, and white undertail coverts. The tail is relatively long, with elongaged, white tipped central rectrices. The auriculars and sides of the head are dusky, bordered above and below by whitish stripes.
Little Hermit is very similar to several other species of small hermit, all of which previously were classified as subspecies of Little Hermit: Stripe-throated Hermit (Phaethornis striigularis), Tapajos Hermit (Phaethornis aethopygus), Black-throated Hermit (Phaethornis atrimentalis), and Minute Hermit (Phaethornis idaliae). Little Hermit is allopatric to all of these species. Little Hermit is only slightly smaller than Streak-throated Hermit (Phaethornis rupurumii), but Streak-throated is more uniformly colored above, and has distinctly grayish underparts. Gray-chinned Hermit (Phaethornis griseogularis) and Reddish Hermit (Phaethornis ruber) both are even smaller than Little Hermit, and are brighter cinnamon below.
The following description is based on Hinkelmann (1999), Hilty (2003), and on Restall et al. (2006):
Adult: Upperparts generally bronzy coppery green or olive green; rump and uppertail coverts a contrasting pale rufous. Tail graduated, central rectrices longest; rectrices generally dusky with a greenish cast, and broadly tipped white or buff. Sides of head (including auriculars) dusky or blackish, bordered above and below by buff or whitish postocular and narrower lateral throat stripes. Center of throat dusky, or speckled with dusky. Underparts otherwise cinnamon buff; undertail coverts white.
Little information; wing molt is reported on Trinidad from July and September (Snow and Snow 1964).
Iris: dark brown
Bill: black, base of mandible yellow
Bare parts color data from Haverschmidt (1968).
Total length: 8.4 cm (Hilty 2003)
Linear measurements (from ffrench 1991):
wing length, male: mean 42 mm (range 41-43 mm; n = 7)
wing length, female: mean 42.4 mm (range 42-44 mm; n = 5)
Mass (from ffrench 1991):
male, mean 3.2 g (range 3-3.5 g; n = 6)
female, mean 3 g (range 3-3 g; n = 3)
unsexed, mean 3.2 g (range 2.5-4.5 g; n = 34)