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.

Snowcap Microchera albocoronata

  • Order: Caprimulgiformes
  • Family: Trochilidae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors: Ethan Kistler and Thomas S. Schulenberg


  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the Snowcap
eBird range map for Snowcap

Generated from eBird observations (Year-Round, 1900-present)

Distribution in the Americas

Snowcap is a resident from southern Honduras south to western Panama, to as far east as western Panama province (Monroe 1968, Wetmore 1968, Ridgely and Gwynne 1989, Stiles and Skutch 1989, Howell and Webb 1995, Martínez-Sánchez and Will 2010). This species primarily occurs on the Caribbean slope, but occurs locally on the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Guancaste in Costa Rica (Stiles and Skutch 1989), and also locally on the Pacific slope in western Panama (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989). Snowcap is most common, in Costa Rica, in the Cordillera Central, and is uncommon to rare in the Cordillera de Talamanca (Stiles and Skutch 1989).

In Costa Rica, Snowcap primarily breeds at 300-800 m, and locally breeds up to 1000 m (Stiles and Skutch 1989). After breeding, most of the population descends to the lowlands (Stiles 1980, Stiles and Skutch 1989); occasionally individuals also wander to as high as 1400 m (Stiles and Skutch 1989). In Panama, occurs at 600-1650 m.

Distribution outside the Americas

Endemic to the Americas.


Snowcap occupies humid forest, both lowland forest and humid montane forests, as well as adjacent semi-open forests and second growth (Stiles and Skutch 1989, Parker et al. 1996). Snowcap occurs "at [forest] openings, breaks, plantations, thickets, and hedges to a much greater extent than inside forest" (Slud 1964).

Historical changes

None reported.

Fossil history

None reported.

Recommended Citation

Kistler, E. and T. S. Schulenberg (2013). Snowcap (Microchera albocoronata), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.