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Amazilia rutila

Cinnamon Hummingbird

  • Order: Apodiformes
  • Family: Trochilidae
  • Polytypic 4 Subspecies

Authors: Arizmendi, M. C., C. Rodríguez-Flores, C. Soberanes-González, and Thomas S. Schulenberg



Amazilia are medium sized hummingbirds with more or less straight bills which are red basally, at least on the mandible. The bill of Cinnamon Hummingbird is extensively red, with only the tip black. This species has a simple plumage pattern: green upperparts and cinnamon underparts, with a tail that is mostly rufous.

Similar Species

No other species of hummingbird in the range of Cinnamon Hummingbird has uniform, cinnamon colored underparts.


The call of Cinnamon Hummingbird is described as "a buzzy, scratchy tzip" (Stiles and Skutch 1989) or as "a hard to sharp chik which may be run into hard rattles" (Howell and Webb 1995).

The song of Cinnamon Humminbird is composed of "varied, high, thin, slightly squeaky chips, si ch chi-chit or tsi si si-si-sit, or chi chi-chi chi chi, etc." (Howell and Webb 1995).

Additional audio recordings of vocalizations of Cinnamon Hummingbird can be heard at Macaulay Library and at xeno-canto.

Nonvocal Sounds

None reported, other than the usual "whirring" sound of the wings in flight, audible (as in most hummingbirds) at close range.

Detailed Description (appearance)

The following description is based on Ridgway (1911), and refers to nominate rutila; see also Geographic Variation.

Adult: Sexes similar. Upperparts metallic bronze green. Rectrices deep cinnamon rufous or rufous chestnut; rectrices broadly tipped with dark metallic bronze, and the outer web of the outermost rectrix also is edged for most of its length with dark metallic bronze. Remiges dark brownish slate or dusky. Underparts cinnamon or dull cinnamon rufous, slightly paler on the chin and upper throat.

Juvenile: Similar to adult, but with rufous edgings to the feathers of the face, crown, and rump, and the underparts often are paler (Stiles and Skutch 1989).

Bare Parts

Iris: dark brown

Bill: red with a black tip (male) or maxilla mostly black, with only the base and culmen red (female); maxilla of juvenile black

Tarsi and toes: dusky, dark brown

Bare parts color data from Dickey and van Rossem (1938) and Stiles and Skutch (1989).


Total length: 9.5 cm (Stiles and Skutch 1989), 10-11.5 cm (Howell and Webb 1995)

Linear measurements: 

rutila and diluta, male (n = 33; Ridgway 1911)

wing length, mean 56.5 mm (range 52.5-60 mm)

tail length, mean 34.6 mm (range 31-37 mm)

culmen length, mean 21.2 mm (range 19.5-23.5 mm)

rutila and diluta, female (n = 17; Ridgway 1911)

wing length, mean 55.3 mm (51-58 mm)

tail length, mean 33.2 mm (range 31-37 mm)

culmen length, mean 21.6 mm (range 20-23.5 mm)

graysoni, male (n = 5; Ridgway 1911)

wing length, mean 68.1 mm (range 66-69.5 mm)

tail length, mean 43.5 mm (range 42-45.5 mm)

culmen length, mean 25.1 mm (range 23.5-27 mm)

graysoni, female (n = 4; Ridgway 1911)

wing length, mean 66.4 mm (range 66-67 mm)

tail length, mean 44 mm (range 42.5-45.5 mm)

culmen length, mean 25.7 mm (range 25-27 mm)

Mass: mean 5 ± 0.7 g (range 3.3-5.7 g, n = 14, sexes combined; Dunning 2008); mean 5.5 g (range 4.9-6.1 g, n = 8, sexes combined, graysoni; Grant 1965).


Little information. In El Salvador, the "annual" (prebasic) molt is between February and early April (Dickey and van Rossem 1938).

Geographic Variation

Four subspecies recognized:

diluta van Rossem 1938; type locality Santiago, Nayarit, Mexico

Occurs in northwestern Mexico in Sinaloa and Nayarit. Perhaps not valid, as it intergrades with nominate rutila (Weller 1999). 

Similar to nominate rutila, but "coloration below paler and more pinkish (less reddish) cinnamon, and upper parts slightly more golden (less greenish) bronze" (van Rossem 1938: 227).

rutila (DeLattre 1842); type locality Acapulco Guerrero, Mexico

Occurs from western and southern Mexico from Jalisco and Yucatán south to Honduras and northwestern Costa Rica.

See Detailed Description.

corallirostris (Bourcier and Mulsant 1846); type locality Escuintla, Guatemala

Occurs on the Pacific slope in Chiapas Mexico, south to the Lempa River, El Salvador; or includes the populations from the Yucatán south to Costa Rica, usually attributed to nominate rutila (Weller 1999).

Similar to nominate rutila, "but much more deeply colored, the under parts deep cinnamon-rufous, the tail chestnut, and green or bronze of back, etc., deeper and brighter" (Ridgway 1911).

graysoni Lawrence 1866; type locality Tres Marias Islands, Mexico

Restricted to Maria Madre Island, Tres Marias Islands, off the west coast of Mexico.

Similar to nominate rutila, "but darker, throughout, and much larger" (Ridgway 1911).


Subspecies graysoni of the Tres Marias Islands formerly was recognized as a separate species (e.g. Ridgway 1911).

There is no phylogenetic survey of the large genus Amazilia. Weller (1999) considered rutila to form a superspecies with Amazilia yucatanensis (Buff-bellied Hummingbird).

Phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data, from both mitochondrial and nuclear genes, indicates that Amazilia is polyphyletic, as the genera Hylocharis, Chrysuronia, Lepidopyga, and Damophila are embedded within the current Amazilia (McGuire et al. 2007, 2008). The type species of the genus Amazilia is rutila, however, so although the nomenclature of Amazilia is destined for revision, the scientific name of Amazilia rutila will not change.

Recommended Citation

Arizmendi, M. C., C. Rodríguez-Flores, C. Soberanes-González, and Thomas S. Schulenberg. 2012. Cinnamon Hummingbird (Amazilia rutila), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: