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Version 1.0

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Short-tailed Woodstar Myrmia micrura

Thomas S. Schulenberg and Carolyn W. Sedgwick
Version: 1.0 — Published December 12, 2014


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Distinguishing Characteristics

Short-tailed Woodstar is the sole species in the genus Myrmia. This is a small hummingbird with a very short tail; at rest, the wingtips extend beyond the tip of the tail. The bill is relatively short (for a hummingbird) and very slightly decurved bill. The upperparts are shining green. The male is mostly white below, with a violet gorget. The rectrices are narrow and stiff; the central rectrices are green and the outer rectrices are blackish. Females are cinnamon buff below. The central rectrices of the female are green; the outer rectrices are black, with white tips.

Similar Species

Short-tailed Woodstar readily is distinguishable from sympatric species by its very small size and very short tail. Purple-collared Woodstar (Myrtis fanny) is larger, longer tailed (especially in the male), and has a longer, more strongly curved bill.

Detailed Description

The following description is based on Meyer de Schauensee (1970) and on Schuchmann (1999):

Adult male: Upperparts shining green. Rectrices narrow and stiff; central rectrices are green, outer rectrices are blackish. Distinct white lateral throat stripe. Gorget glittering violet. Breast band and belly white; flanks dingier.

Adult female: Upperparts as in male. Central rectrices green, outer rectrices are black, tipped with white. Underparts pale buffy whitish or cinnamon buff.

Immature: Central rectrices slender and pointed at tips; rectrices of immature female broader and more evenly rounded (Zimmer 1953).



Bare Parts

Iris: black [= dark brown?]

Bill: black

Toes: black

Bare parts color data from specimens in the Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science.


Total length: 6 cm (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001b)

Bill length: 13 mm (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001b)

Mass: female, mean 2.3 g (range 2.2-2.4 g, n = 3; specimens in the Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science)

Recommended Citation

Schulenberg, T. S. and C. W. Sedgwick (2014). Short-tailed Woodstar (Myrmia micrura), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.shtwoo1.01