Scintillant Hummingbird Selasphorus scintilla

  • Order: Caprimulgiformes
  • Family: Trochilidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Christopher J. Clark


Geographic Variation

No geographic variation known; no subspecies. Glow-throated Hummingbird (Selasphorus ardens) is regarded a separate species.

Related Species

Genus Selasphorus named by Swainson (1830) for S. rufus. Orginally described as Trochilus (Selosphorus) scintilla by Gould (1850); changed to Selasphorus scintilla by Gould (1861). See Ridgway 1911 for other synonyms. Type is from Volcan Chiriquí. Hybrids between Scintillant and Volcano (Selasphorus flammula) hummingbirds originally described as a separate species or subspecies, Selasphorus underwoodi, but hybrid origin convincingly argued by Stiles (1983).

Selasphorus falls within the ‘bee hummingbird’ clade and either is sister to or includes Atthis (McGuire et al. 2007). The Calliope Hummingbird (Stellula calliope) also falls within Selasphorus (McGuire et al. 2007, 2009). Within this clade, a preliminary molecular phylogeny suggests S. scintilla may be sister to S. ardens and that the scintilla+ardens clade may be sister to S. flammula (McGuire pers comm). It is also closely allied with Allen's Humminbird (S. sasin) and with Rufous Hummingbird (S. rufus), two species with which S. scintilla shares a number of common features including shuttle displays, wing trills, extensive rufous plumage, gorget coloration, similar scolding calls, similar breeding habitats (in terms of habitat structure) and similar activity levels on territory.

Recommended Citation

Clark, C. J. (2011). Scintillant Hummingbird (Selasphorus scintilla), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.