Neotropical Birds logo
Version 1.0

This is a historic version of this account.  Current version


Wine-throated Hummingbird Atthis ellioti

Walter A. Thurber, Thomas S. Schulenberg, and Carolyn W. Sedgwick
Version: 1.0 — Published March 29, 2013


Welcome to Birds of the World!

You are currently viewing one of the free accounts available in our complimentary tour of Birds of the World. In this courtesy review, you can access all the life history articles and the multimedia galleries associated with this account.

For complete access to all accounts, a subscription is required.

Subscribe Now

Already a subscriber? Sign in

Distinguishing Characteristics

Atthis are two species of very small, montane hummingbirds with short, rounded tails and relatively short (for a hummingbird), straight black bills. The upperparts are green, with rufous bases to the outer rectrices, and the underparts are mostly white; males also have a purple gorget. The gorget of male Wine-throated Hummingbird is rose pink, with highlights of violet, and is flared at the corners. The throat of female Wine-throated Hummingbird is whitish, heavily spotted with dusky. The flanks are cinnamon; contrasting with the spotted throat and the cinnamon flanks is a white collar across the breast.

Similar Species

Wine-throated Hummingbird is very similar to Bumblebee Hummingbird (Atthis heloisa)but these two species are allopatric; Bumblebee Hummingbird occurs only north of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Furthermore, the tip of the outer primary of male Bumblebee is attentuated; this primary is not similarly modified in male Wine-throated (see illustration in Zyskowski et al. 1998). Female Wine-throated Hummingbird also is similar to female Calliope Hummingbird (Selasphorus calliope), but has a longer tail, more heavily spotted throat, and darker buff on the flanks. Female Wine-throated Hummingbird is distinguished from females of Rufous (Selasphorus rufus), Allen's (Selasphorus sasin), and Broad-tailed (Selasphorus platycercus) hummingbirds by its shorter bill and slightly smaller size.

Detailed Description

The following description is based on Howell and Webb (1995) and on Züchner (1999):

Adult male: Upperparts green. Central pair of rectrices green, basally edged with rufous. Remaining rectrices rufous and with a broad black subterminal band; tips of outer rectrices white, or white washed with cinnamon. The remiges are dusky. The auriculars are dusky, bordered above by a whitish postocular streak. The gorget on the throat is glittering rose pink with violet highlights; the posterior feathers of the throat are elongated, especially laterally. Breast, belly, and undertail coverts whitish. Flanks mixed cinnamon and green.

Adult female: Upperparts similar to male, but the black in the tail is more extensive, the rufous in the tail is reduced, and the tips of the outer rectrices often are washed with cinnamon. The female also has a small white postocular spot. The chin and throat are white, conspicuously spotted with dusky. The upper breast is white. The center of the belly is whitish, but the flanks and undertail coverts are extensively cinnamon.


Bare Parts

Iris: blackish brown

Bill: black; in female (n = 1), the tomia of the basal half of the mandible are flesh

Toes: dark brown

Bare parts color data from Dickey and van Rossem (1938).


Total length: 6.5-7 cm (Howell and Webb 1995)

Linear measurements (from Ridgway 1911):

male (n = 8)

wing length, mean 34.9 mm (range 34-37.5 mm)

tail length, mean 20.3 mm (range 19-21 mm)

bill length (exposed culmen), mean 10.9 mm (10.5-11.5 mm)

Mass: female, mean 2.9 g (range 2-4 g, n = 8; Dunning 2008)

Recommended Citation

Thurber, W. A., T. S. Schulenberg, and C. W. Sedgwick (2013). Wine-throated Hummingbird (Atthis ellioti), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.withum1.01