A member of the taxonomically confusing genus Chlorostilbon, Canivet's Emerald contains two groups of populations, each of which also sometimes is recognized as a separate species: "true" Canivet's Emerald (nominate canivetii), which occurs in southeastern Mexico and northern Guatemala and Belize; and "Salvin's Emerald", of the Pacific slope from southern Mexico south to northwestern Costa Rica. All populations of this emerald occupy semiopen habitats such as forest edge and overgrown clearings. Canivet’s Emerald forage in the lower and mid strata for nectar or insects, often fairly close to the ground. They vocalize with dry, chattering calls, and when feeding, these emeralds wag their forked tails. Males are mostly green with notched, bluish back tails; females are white below, with prominent black sides to the face, and with white tips to the outer rectrices.