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Species Guide

Pale-bellied Hermit

Phaethornis anthophilus

The Pale-bellied Hermit, Phaethornis anthophilus, is a medium-sized hummingbird with a length of about 13 cm (5.1 in). Exhibiting sexual dimorphism, males weigh between 4.5 to 5.5 g (0.16 to 0.19 oz) and females slightly less at 4 to 5 g (0.14 to 0.18 oz). The species is characterized by dark green to olive green upperparts and light gray underparts. A distinctive black "mask" adorns the face, complemented by a buffy supercilium and a predominantly white throat. The male's bill is nearly straight, while the female's is noticeably decurved.

Identification Tips

To identify the Pale-bellied Hermit, look for its dark green upperparts, light gray underparts, and the black facial "mask" with a buffy supercilium. The male's almost straight bill and the female's curved bill are also key identification features.


This hermit hummingbird inhabits a variety of environments including semi-deciduous forests, drier woodlands, secondary forests, gallery forests, plantations, and brushy or thorny landscapes. It can be found from sea level up to elevations of approximately 1,500 m (4,900 ft).


The Pale-bellied Hermit is found across central Panama, northern, central, and eastern Colombia, and western and northern Venezuela. The subspecies P. a. hyalinus is endemic to the Pearl Islands off Panama's Pacific coast.


While there are hints of regular movements in northeastern Venezuela, more data is required to understand the full extent of this species' behavior.

Song & Calls

The song of the Pale-bellied Hermit remains poorly described, but its calls are known to be rather piercing and high-pitched.


The breeding seasons of the Pale-bellied Hermit vary across its range and are not fully defined. Its nesting behavior is typical of the genus, suspending a cone-shaped nest under a drooping leaf. The clutch size is generally two eggs.

Similar Species

There are no close relatives to the Pale-bellied Hermit within its genus, making it quite distinctive among its congeners.

Diet and Feeding

As a "trap-line" feeder, the Pale-bellied Hermit visits a circuit of a wide variety of flowering plants to consume nectar. It also supplements its diet with small arthropods.

Conservation status

The IUCN has classified the Pale-bellied Hermit as Least Concern. Although the population size and trend are unknown, it is considered uncommon to locally common in most of its range and abundant in a few regions. It is also present in several protected areas.

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Pale-bellied Hermits on Birda

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Profile picture for John S
John S
06 Jun 2024 - 4:14pm

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