Birds Species

Mexican Hermit History and 5 Best Facts

Mexican Hermit History and 5 Best Facts

The Mexican hermit (Phaethornis mexicanus) is a species of hummingbird in the family Trochilidae. It is native to Mexico.

Taxonomy and systematics

The Mexican hermit was previously considered a subspecies of the long-billed hermit (Phaethornis longirostris). After two publications in 2013, it was recognized as a separate species by the North American Classification Committee (NACC) of the American Ornithological Society in 2015. The world followed suit.

Read More: Saw-billed hermit


The Mexican hermit is 16 to 17 cm (6.3 to 6.7 in) tall. The nominate subspecies has a dusty crown and bronze-green nape and upperparts. The rump feathers are brassy green with cinnamon edges and the tail is black with white tips on the wings. The face has black cheeks and light cinnamon streaks behind the eyes and under the cheeks. The throat is mostly yellow and the rest of the underparts are dark brown with a cinnamon color on the belly. PM griseoventer is slightly paler overall. Its crown is light green, its throat stripe is lighter than white, and its main tail feathers are white.

Read More: Black-throated hermit

Distribution and accommodation

The Mexican hermit is found in two distinct regions along the Pacific coast of Mexico. The designated PM occurs in southwestern Mexico from southwestern Guerrero to southeastern Oaxaca. PM griseoventer occurs further north, between Nayarit and Colima. This species inhabits the interior and edges of moist evergreen forests, heliconia thickets, and ravines in semi-deciduous forests. In elevation, it ranges from about 2,000 meters (6,600 ft) above sea level.

The Mexican hermit is believed to be a pessimist.


The Mexican hermit, like other hermit hummingbirds, is a “trapline” feeder, visiting a circuit of a variety of flowering plants for nectar. It also eats small arthropods.


Almost nothing is known about the breeding of the Mexican hermit. Nests containing eggs were found in late May and early July.

To sound

Song of the Mexican Hermit P.m. griseoventer subspecies “One, continuous series of metallic notes…’chieh…chieh…chieh…’.” Its call is “a sharp, muffled, relatively drawn-out ‘skweih'”. Nominal PM Mexican sounds are not documented. However, both subspecies are known to sing in choruses of four to six males.

Cool Facts about Mexican Hermit

1. Magnificent large hummingbird of humid tropical lowlands and foothills; Native to western Mexico. Loves shady woodland understory and edges, especially with patches of Heliconia flowers. 

2. Males sit in the understory, blow their tails, and sing relentlessly. 

3. When feeding, long whites hover briefly with tail streamers that are nearly vertical and exit with an explosive hiss. 

4. Note the striped face, long, arched bill, and rough feathers. There is no hummingbird-like species in its range.

5. There are two subspecies of the Mexican hermit, designated PM. Mexican and PM. griseoventer


The IUCN has assessed the Mexican hermit as Least Concern. Its population is estimated to be at least 20,000 adults but is believed to be declining. No immediate danger has been identified.