Found only in southern Central America, the Magenta-throated Woodstar occurs from northern Costa Rica to western Panama, and is largely restricted to the Pacific slope of the isthmus. Its plumage is generally very similar to the geographically distant Bahama Woodstar (Calliphlox evelynae), and these two species are, in older literature, sometimes placed in their own genus, Nesophlox. Both sexes of the Magenta-throated Woodstar have the green upperparts spangled with rufous, with the male having a glittering purple gorget and a long tail (both lacking in females). Both sexes possess a white collar on the front of the neck, although this is much more striking in males, and otherwise are green with rufous and white spotting below (in males) or largely whitish with spotting largely confined to the flanks (females). The Magenta-throated Woodstar is found in a wide variety of more or less wooded country, principally between 700 and 1850 m.