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The Saw-billed Hermit (Ramphodon naevius) is among the most primitive living hummingbird species.
The Saw-billed Hermit (Ramphodon naevius) is among the most primitive living hummingbird species.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae
Subfamily: Phaethornithinae
Jardine, 1833

The Hermits are tropical hummingbirds in the subfamily Phaethornithinae, comprising about 34 species in six genera.

Their plumage typically involves greens, browns, rufous or grey. They lack the iridescent plumage of many other hummingbird species, and the male and female plumages of hermits are often very similar, only a few species showing the strong sexual dimorphism usually associated with hummingbirds.

Hermits in the main genus, Phaethornis, have a long decurved bill with a red or yellow base to the lower mandible, and their two central tail feathers are elongated and tipped with white. The crown of the head is flat, and two pale facial stripes enclose a dusky mask.

Hermits usually form leks and congregate on traditional display grounds, where females visit to choose a mate. However, male hermits are less aggressively territorial than other male hummingbirds.

Hermits are closely associated with heliconias. The flowers are an important food source accessible to the long decurved bill typical of this group of forest hummingbirds. Many species, including the Rufous-breasted Hermit, also use the plant for nesting, attaching their conical nest to the underside of one of the plantís broad leaves.


  • Genus Ramphodon
    • Saw-billed Hermit, Ramphodon naevius
  • Genus Eutoxeres
    • White-tipped Sicklebill, Eutoxeres aquila
      Buff-tailed Sicklebill, Eutoxeres condamini
  • Genus Glaucis
    • Hook-billed Hermit, Glaucis dohrnii
      Rufous-breasted Hermit, Glaucis hirsuta
      Bronzy Hermit, Glaucis aenea
  • Genus Threnetes
    • Band-tailed Barbthroat, Threnetes ruckeri
      Pale-tailed Barbthroat, Threnetes niger
  • Genus Anopetia
    • Broad-tipped Hermit, Anopetia gounellei
  • Genus Phaethornis
    • White-whiskered Hermit, Phaethornis yaruqui
      Green Hermit, Phaethornis guy
      White-bearded Hermit, Phaethornis hispidus
    • Long-billed Hermit, Phaethornis longirostris
      • Mexican Hermit, Phaethornis (longirostris) mexicanus
      • Baron's Hermit, Phaethornis (longirostris) baroni
    • Long-tailed Hermit, Phaethornis superciliosus
      Great-billed Hermit, Phaethornis malaris
      Tawny-bellied Hermit, Phaethornis syrmatophorus
      Koepcke's Hermit, Phaethornis koepckeae
      Needle-billed Hermit, Phaethornis philippii
      Straight-billed Hermit, Phaethornis bourcieri
      Pale-bellied Hermit, Phaethornis anthophilus
      Scale-throated Hermit, Phaethornis eurynome
      Planalto Hermit, Phaethornis pretrei
      Sooty-capped Hermit, Phaethornis augusti
      Buff-bellied Hermit, Phaethornis subochraceus
      Dusky-throated Hermit, Phaethornis squalidus
      Streak-throated Hermit, Phaethornis rupurumii
      Little Hermit, Phaethornis longuemareus
      Minute Hermit, Phaethornis idaliae
      Cinnamon-throated Hermit, Phaethornis nattereri
      Reddish Hermit, Phaethornis ruber
      White-browed Hermit, Phaethornis stuarti
      Black-throated Hermit, Phaethornis atrimentalis
    • Stripe-throated Hermit, Phaethornis striigularis
      • Dusky Hermit, Phaethornis (striigularis) saturatus
    • Gray-chinned Hermit, Phaethornis griseogularis


  • del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. (editors) (1999): Handbook of Birds of the World, Volume 5: Barn-owls to Hummingbirds. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. ISBN 84-87334-25-3
  • ffrench, Richard; O'Neill, John Patton & Eckelberry, Don R. (2003): A guide to the birds of Trinidad and Tobago. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 0-7136-6759-1
  • Hilty, Steven L. (2003): Birds of Venezuela. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 0-7136-6418-5
  • Stiles, F. Gary & Skutch, Alexander Frank (1989): A guide to the birds of Costa Rica. Comistock, Ithaca. ISBN 0-8014-9600-4

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| Bucorvinae
| Buphaginae
| Pseudochelidoninae
| Anatinae
| Anserinae
| Buteoninae
| Chordeilinae
| Drongo
| Euphoniinae
| Fantail
| Ground-hornbill
| Mancallinae
| Merginae
| Monarchinae
| Palaeeudyptinae
| Phaethornithinae
| Pseudochelidoninae
| Rhipidurinae
| Saxicolinae
| Tadorninae
| Vanellinae
| Woodcreeper

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