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Geoffroy's Wedgebill Schistes geoffroyi

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

The two species of wedgebill - Geoffroy's Wedgebill and White-throated Wedgebill (Schistes albogularis) - formerly were classified as a single species, Wedge-billed Hummingbird (Schistes geoffroyi). The recurring mention of "wedge" in the English names for these hummingbirds refers to the tip of the bill, which is very narrow and sharply pointed; this unusual bill shape is quite distinctive, but is not readily seen in the field. Wedgebills readily are identified the combination of relatively small size, overall green plumage, conspicuous white postocular streak, and blue or violet patch on each side of the upper breast, bordered below by a broad white band. Males also have a glittering green gorget. Among the differences in plumage between the two species, the white pectoral patches of White-throated Wedgebill are joined across the breast (rather than confined to the sides, as in Geoffroy's Wedgebill); the forecrown is glittering green in White-throated, but duller green in Geoffroy's; the white postocular streak is much longer in Geoffroy's than in White-throated; and the lower back and rump are green in White-throated, but are coppery bronze in Geoffroy's. Also, the throat of female White-throated is white (naturally) and unmarked, whereas the throat of female Geoffroy's is white but heavily speckled with green. The songs of the two species also differ. Both species of wedgebill are rather uncommon inhabitants of the understory of humid montane forest, where they feed from tubular flowers and often rob nectar by piercing the base of flowers without actually achieving pollination.


© Paul Coopmans

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

(2018). Geoffroy's Wedgebill (Schistes geoffroyi), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.