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10 Fascinating Facts About Canivet’s Emerald Hummingbirds

The Canivet’s Emerald, scientifically known as the Cynanthus canivetii, is a tiny bird that belongs to the hummingbird family. These birds are mainly found in Central America, where they thrive in a variety of habitats, including open woodland, desert, and semi-arid landscapes.

Despite their petite size, Canivet’s Emeralds have a lot of interesting facts that are worth exploring.




Canivet’s Emerald is a small bird that measures approximately 9 cm long and weighs about three to four grams. Males are brightly colored, with iridescent green plumage on their upperparts and a whitish-grey belly.

They also have a forked tail and a black bill. Females are duller and have a greyish-green body, with a slightly curved bill.

Juveniles look like females, but have lighter plumage. Similar Species:

Canivet’s Emeralds are often confused with other similar-looking hummingbirds, including the Ruby-throated Hummingbird and the Green-breasted Mango.

However, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird has a more prominent and extensive red throat, while the Green-breasted Mango has a green-colored chest.



Canivet’s Emeralds have two molting periods in a year. During the breeding season, they develop their breeding plumage, which is bright and iridescent.

Afterwards, they undergo a post-breeding molt, where they replace their old feathers with new ones. During this time, their feathers may appear duller and less iridescent than usual.

Canivet’s Emeralds have different plumages depending on their age and gender. Male Canivet’s Emeralds develop their vibrant plumage only during the breeding season, while females and juveniles have a more muted plumage throughout the year.

Female Canivet’s Emeralds are duller in color than males and have less iridescence. Juvenile birds have noticeably lighter plumage than adults.


In conclusion, the Canivet’s Emerald is a fascinating bird species that is unique in its own way. With their bright green plumage and forked tails, these birds are quite enchanting to observe.

Despite their petite size, they have evolved unique mechanisms that enable them to thrive in different habitats. Knowing how to identify these birds and their different plumages is beneficial for bird enthusiasts and helps them distinguish between similar-looking species.

Systematics History

The Canivet’s Emerald, scientifically known as Cynanthus canivetii, is a member of the Trochilidae family, colloquially known as hummingbirds. It was discovered in 1840 by Charles Lucien Bonaparte, a French zoologist and ornithologist, and named after Louis Canivet, a French naval officer and naturalist who had visited Mexico and Central America.

Geographic Variation

Canivet’s Emeralds are widely distributed across Central America, primarily in countries such as Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Costa Rica. These birds are mainly found in lowland and mountainous areas, including forests, woodlands, gardens, and semi-arid habitats.


Canivet’s Emeralds have two subspecies: the C. c.

canivetii, and the C. c.

salvini. The C.

c. canivetii subspecies is found in southern Mexico down to Honduras, while the C.

c. salvini subspecies is found in El Salvador and Guatemala.

These subspecies are distinguished by differences in coloration, size, and habitat preference. The C.

c. canivetii tends to have a more vibrant green coloration and is typically found in open woodlands at elevations of up to 1,500 meters.

The C. c.

salvini, on the other hand, has a duller green coloration and is typically found in drier habitats such as thorn forests and scrubland.

Related Species

The Canivet’s Emerald is part of the genus Cynanthus, which includes four other species: the Blue-throated Hummingbird, the White-tailed Hummingbird, the White-eared Hummingbird, and the Bahama Woodstar. The Blue-throated Hummingbird has a similar size and shape to the Canivet’s Emerald and is often found in the same areas of Central America.

However, the Blue-throated Hummingbird has a distinctive blue throat patch and a black eye mask, making it easy to distinguish from the Canivet’s Emerald. The White-tailed Hummingbird and the White-eared Hummingbird are both found in Mexico, and while they resemble the Canivet’s Emerald in shape and size, they have distinct white-colored features that set them apart.

The White-tailed Hummingbird has a white tail, and the White-eared Hummingbird has distinctive white feathers behind the eye. The Bahama Woodstar is found in the Bahamas and has a similar size and shape to the Canivet’s Emerald.

However, it has a distinctive red throat patch and a dark, contrasting mask around the eye.

Historical Changes to Distribution

The Canivet’s Emerald’s distribution has historically been affected by changes to habitat and climate. Deforestation and habitat fragmentation are key drivers responsible for the decline in population and range reductions of this species.

Historically, the Canivet’s Emerald was more widely distributed throughout southern Mexico and Central America. However, due to human encroachment and fragmentation of its natural habitat, the range of the species has been declining.

The loss of forested areas, coupled with expanding agricultural and urban areas, has resulted in the fragmentation of the Canivet’s Emerald’s habitat. Climate change may also be affecting the distribution of this species.

In recent years, the frequency of severe weather events such as hurricanes and droughts has increased. These changes in climate patterns can cause habitat loss and fragmentation and may impact the breeding success rates of the Canivet’s Emerald.



The Canivet’s Emerald is an interesting species with a fascinating systematics history that encompasses its geographic variation, subspecies, related species, and historical changes to distribution. With thoughtful management of its habitats and efforts taken to preserve these birds, we can ensure the survival of this beautiful species for future generations.


Canivet’s Emeralds have a diverse habitat preference and can be found in a variety of environments. These birds are commonly seen in open woodlands, semi-arid scrublands, and forest edges.

They have a preference for areas with a dense understory, such as thorn scrub and dense secondary forest. Canivet’s Emeralds are highly adapted to human-modified landscapes and often visit gardens that have flowering plants, particularly those with red tubular flowers.

They are also attracted to sugar water feeders placed by bird enthusiasts and can become quite territorial over these artificial food sources.

Movements and Migration

Canivet’s Emeralds are considered non-migratory; however, there are some reports of seasonal movements of this species. Populations living in higher elevations may descend to lower altitudes during the dry season.

During the breeding season, males can be seen actively defending their territories by displaying their vibrant plumage and performing aerial displays. Canivet’s Emeralds also exhibit altitudinal migration, as they move to higher elevations during the non-breeding season or the wet season.

This behavior is witnessed in areas where the distribution ranges of different hummingbird species overlap, allowing them to avoid competition for resources by moving to different altitudes. While Canivet’s Emeralds do not migrate in the traditional sense, they are still vulnerable to seasonal fluctuations in climatic conditions and habitat availability.

Nesting seasons and food availability may vary between years, particularly in areas experiencing extreme weather events such as hurricanes or droughts. The Future of Canivet’s Emeralds

While the Canivet’s Emerald is not currently considered a threatened species, habitat fragmentation, deforestation, urbanization, and climate change pose significant threats to their survival.

Development and human encroachment continue to reduce the habitats available for this species, affecting their range and population size. In addition, climate change can cause unpredictable weather patterns, such as droughts or hurricanes, that further impact the populations of Canivet’s Emerald.

As important pollinators and a significant public attraction, there is an increasing need to protect Canivet’s Emeralds and their habitats. Efforts must be taken to preserve and restore natural habitats, promote sustainable land use practices, and monitor the populations of Canivet’s Emeralds in their varying habitats.

Protection of their habitat and ensuring sustainable land-use practices will help protect the Canivet’s Emerald for future generations to enjoy and admire. In


The Canivet’s Emerald is a fascinating species that exhibits unique habitat and movement behaviors.

These birds are adapted to human-modified landscapes but still rely on diverse habitat availability to complete their life cycles. While the future of this species is uncertain due to widespread habitat reduction and climate change, efforts can be taken to protect the Canivet’s Emerald and ensure its survival.

By prioritizing habitat integrity and promoting sustainable land-use practices, we can work towards conserving this vital species for future generations.

Diet and Foraging

Canivet’s Emeralds are active foragers, and their small size and aerial feeding habits facilitate their consumption of flower nectar and small invertebrates. They are principal pollinators in their ecosystem and play a vital role in transferring pollen between flowers, enabling the reproduction of many plant species.


Canivet’s Emeralds have a high metabolism and require a diet that is rich in sugar and protein. They obtain sugar from floral nectar and sucrose solution provided by bird feeders.

Sugary substances make up a significant portion of their diet, and they prefer nectar that is rich in sugar concentration. Canivet’s Emeralds consume insects and spiders to meet their protein requirements.

They particularly favor small insects such as flies, aphids, and spiders, which are abundant in their habitats. They use their long, pointed bills to catch flying insects.


Canivet’s Emeralds have a varied diet that varies in composition and quality throughout the year. During the breeding season, they rely more on insects and other sources of protein to supplement their diet.

In contrast, during the non-breeding season, they consume more sugary substances, such as nectar. Metabolism and Temperature Regulation:

Canivet’s Emeralds have a high metabolic rate that enables them to fly and hover in place continuously.

They have the highest metabolic rate of any bird species, relative to their body size. During periods of increased activity and foraging, they regulate their body temperature by increasing metabolic and respiratory rates.

Sounds and Vocal


Canivet’s Emeralds are relatively quiet birds and do not produce as many vocalizations as other hummingbirds. However, they do have a distinctive vocalization, characterized by a high-pitched, consistent trill that is often used as a territorial call.


Canivet’s Emeralds produce a trilling call, similar to the sound produced by an insect or a mechanical buzzer. This call is often used by males to defend their territories, particularly during the breeding season.

In addition to their territorial use, they may emit this call during courtship displays. Males can be quite vocal during territorial disputes and will often produce a series of short, high-pitched chatters and screeches as they chase off other males.

Females do not vocalize as much, although they may produce a soft, muffled chirp or tweep. In


Canivet’s Emeralds have a specialized diet that includes nectar and small insects to supplement their high metabolic rate.

They have adapted to thrive in a variety of habitats and are well-known for their aerial acrobatics and active foraging. While they are relatively silent compared to other hummingbird species, they do have a distinctive vocalization that is used for territorial and courtship displays.

Understanding these aspects of Canivet’s Emeralds’ life can help in developing effective strategies to protect and conserve the species for the future.


Canivet’s Emeralds are small birds that are highly adaptable to their terrain and have unique behavioral characteristics. These include their locomotion, self-maintenance, agonistic behavior, and sexual behavior.


Canivet’s Emeralds are extremely agile and have highly developed wings that allow them to hover in place while feeding. They can fly forwards, backward, and sideways and are known for their fast and erratic flight patterns.

These birds have a distinctive hovering behavior and can remain stationary in mid-air rather than perching on a branch. Self Maintenance:

Canivet’s Emeralds spend a significant amount of time grooming their feathers and maintaining their plumage.

They use their long bills to preen themselves, removing dirt, oil, and parasites. These birds are typically active throughout the day and require rest periods to recharge their highly active metabolism.



Canivet’s Emeralds are territorial birds that can become aggressive towards other hummingbirds, particularly during the breeding season. Males protect their territories by displaying their vibrant plumage and performing aerial displays to deter other males from entering their territory.



Canivet’s Emeralds exhibit unique sexual behavior during the breeding season. Males attract females with their vibrant plumage and aerial displays.

If a female is interested in a male, she will approach him and perform a series of courtship displays. These displays can include hovering in front of a male and producing a quiet chirping sound, or perching on a branch and wagging her tail feathers.


Canivet’s Emeralds breed throughout the year, although the breeding season varies across their range. Males establish territories early in the breeding season and defend them aggressively against other males.

Females will select a dominant male with a preferred territory for mating. Males display their vibrant plumage during courtship and perform aerial displays, including diving, swooping, and hovering to attract a female’s attention.

After choosing a mate, the female will build a small cup-shaped nest using spider webs, plant fibers, and other materials. The nest is typically 3 to 8 meters above the ground, and the female will lay two eggs.

The incubation period lasts 14-21 days, with both the male and the female taking turns incubating the eggs. After the chicks hatch, both parents will take care of feeding and caring for the chicks until they are fully fledged and able to leave the nest.

The fledging period lasts between 19 to 24 days, after which the young birds will leave the nest and become independent.

Demography and Populations

Canivet’s Emeralds are not considered a threatened species, although their populations are declining in some areas due to habitat loss and fragmentation. Deforestation and human encroachment continue to reduce the habitats available for this species, affecting their range and population size.

In addition, climate change can cause unpredictable weather patterns, such as droughts or hurricanes, that further impact the populations of Canivet’s Emerald. Efforts are being made to monitor the populations of Canivet’s Emerald and their habitats, to prevent further decline and promote conservation.

Initiatives such as habitat restoration and sustainable land-use practices are crucial for the preservation of this species. In conclusion, understanding the behavior of Canivet’s Emeralds, particularly during breeding and territorial defense, provides valuable insights into their conservation.

These birds exhibit unique characteristics that enable them to flourish in a variety of habitats and play a vital role in their ecosystems as pollinators. With proper management and conservation efforts, we can ensure the survival and thriving of Canivet’s Emeralds for generations to come.

The Canivet’s Emerald, a member of the hummingbird family, is a fascinating species with various unique characteristics. It exhibits interesting behaviors, such as aerial acrobatics when foraging and defensive behavior during the breeding season.

Additionally, the Canivet’s Emerald species plays an essential role in the ecosystem as a principal pollinator. Despite their significant contributions to their habitat, Canivet’s Emerald populations face various threats, including habitat loss, fragmentation, and climate change.

Nonetheless, efforts to monitor their populations and conserve their habitats ensure the long-term survival of this species. As such, a comprehensive understanding of the Canivet’s Emerald and its behaviors is essential for its successful protection.

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