Notice for readers: On March 31, Neotropical Birds will be integrated into the new Birds of the World, a powerful research database offering species accounts for every species on earth. Learn more at While Birds of the World is a subscription service, we remain committed to offering this content to Neotropical Birds contributors and to those unable to pay for it through our scholarship program. Stay tuned.

Black-bellied Thorntail Discosura langsdorffi

  • Order: Caprimulgiformes
  • Family: Trochilidae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors needed...
  • © Daniel Lane

These slow flying hummingbirds inhabit humid lowland forests and gather in the canopy with other hummingbirds to forage. There they sometimes steal nectar from the feeding territories of larger hummingbirds. During courtship displays, males impress females by fanning out their long tails as they zoom from side to side. This behavior is accompanied by a loud cracking sound given by the male. Although the male might be confused with a Wire-crested Thorntail (Discosura popelairii), the Black-bellied male lacks a crest and has a narrow rufous band separating the green gorget and black chest.

Help complete this species

There are many ways to contribute—we need species information, photographs, audio, video, translations, maps, distribution data, and bird sightings. There's a role for everyone!

Learn more
Audio needed
  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Black-bellied Thorntail (Discosura langsdorffi), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: