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Version 1.0

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White-tailed Hummingbird Eupherusa poliocerca

Marîa del Coro Arizmendi, Claudia I. Rodríguez-Flores, Carlos A. Soberanes-González, and Thomas S. Schulenberg
Version: 1.0 — Published June 28, 2013


Distinguishing Characteristics

Species of Eupherusa are medium sized hummingbirds with straight black bills and square-tipped tails; all species also have extensive white in the tail, and a rufous wing patch. The sexes of Eupherusa are dichromatic.

Male White-tailed Hummingbird is primarily emerald green, with rufous secondaries. The central pair of rectrices are green, but the remaining rectrices are white or whitish. The underparts, and the sides of the face, of the female are pale gray, and the outer webs of the outer rectrices are dusky green.

Similar Species

White-tailed Hummingbird is extremely similar to Blue-capped Hummingbird (Eupherusa cyanophrys); indeed, females of the two species apparently are indistinguishable (Rowley and Orr 1964, Howell and Webb 1995). Male Blue-capped Hummingbird differs from male White-tailed Hummingbird by its blue crown. Also note that the distributions of these two species are allopatric. White-tailed Hummingbird is superficially similar to Berylline Hummingbird (Amazilia beryllina), which also has a rufous wing patch, but Berylline Hummingbird has a rufous tail, has a tawny (male) or white (female) belly, and the bill is partially red.

Detailed Description

The following description is based on Ridgway (1911):

Adult male: Upperparts bright metallic bronze green. Secondaries and four innermost primaries rufous; remaining primaries dusky. Central pair of rectrices metallic bronze green; outer rectrices mostly grayish white, duskier at tip. Underparts bright metallic yellowish green; undertail coverts white.

Adult female: Upperparts bright metallic golden green. Central pair of rectrices metallic golden green. Outer rectrices white, with dusky or bronze green outer webs. Secondaries and inner primaries dull cinnamon rufous; remaining primaries dusky. Underparts grayish white, sides of the breast spotted with metallic green. Undertail coverts white or grayish white.



Bare Parts

Iris: dark brown

Bill: black

Toes: undescribed?

Bare parts color data from Ridgway (1911).


Total length: 10-11 cm (Howell and Webb 1995)

Linear measurements (from Rowley and Orr 1964; see also Ridgway 1911):

male (n = 5)

wing length, mean 63.7 mm (range 63-64.5 mm)

bill length (exposed culmen), mean 17.8 mm (range 17.2-18.3 mm)

Mass: no data?

Recommended Citation

Arizmendi, M. d. C., C. I. Rodríguez-Flores, C. A. Soberanes-González, and T. S. Schulenberg (2013). White-tailed Hummingbird (Eupherusa poliocerca), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.whthum1.01