Little hermit

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Little hermit
MonographTrochi1Goul 0264.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae
Genus: Phaethornis
Species: P. longuemareus
Binomial name
Phaethornis longuemareus
(Lesson 1832)

The little hermit (Phaethornis longuemareus) is a hummingbird that is a resident breeder in north-eastern Venezuela, northern Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana and Trinidad. This lowland species occurs in various semi-open wooded habitats, e.g. mangrove, secondary forest, plantations and scrub. In Trinidad it also occurs in rainforest. It is fairly common in most of its range, and therefore listed as Least Concern by BirdLife International.

Previously, several other small hermits were considered subspecies of this species. This includes the stripe-throated hermit (P. striigularis) of Central America and north-western South America, the minute hermit (P. idaliae) of south-eastern Brazil, the Tapajós hermit (P. aethopyga) of south-eastern Amazonia, and the black-throated hermit (P. atrimentalis) of western Amazonia. As presently defined, the little hermit is monotypic.

It is among the smallest hummingbirds and birds overall with a total length of ca. 9 cm. (3½ in) and a weight of 2½-3½ g. (0,08-0,12 oz).[2] It is olive-green above with orange-ochraceous uppertail coverts and underparts (the belly often is greyer). As most other hermits, it has a long decurved bill, elongated central rectrices with whitish tips and a blackish mask bordered by a whitish-buff malar and supercilium. The upper mandible is black, the lower is yellow with a black tip. The male has a slightly darker throat than the female.

The males form communal leks where they sing and flash their tails to attract the females. The song varies over its range, but typically is high, squeaky, complex and repeated again and again.

The little hermit lays two eggs in a conical nest suspended under a large leaf. Incubation and fledging period not reported, but probably as relatives where incubations is 14–16 days, and fledging another 20–23 days.

The food of this species is nectar, taken from a wide variety of flowers (e.g. Heliconia), and some small insects. It feeds mainly by trap-lining.


  • Birds of Venezuela by Hilty, ISBN 0-7136-6418-5.
  • ffrench, Richard (1991). A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago (2nd ed.). Comstock Publishing. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2. 
  • Hinkelmann, C. (1999). Little Hermit (Phaethornis longuemareus). pp. 545–546 in: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. eds (1999). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 5. Barn-owls to Hummingbirds. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. ISBN 84-87334-25-3.
  1. ^ BirdLife International (2013). "Phaethornis longuemareus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Wood, The Guinness Book of Animal Facts and Feats. Sterling Pub Co Inc. (1983), ISBN 978-0-85112-235-9