Birds Species

Reddish Hermit History and 5 Best Facts

Reddish Hermit

The Reddish Hermit (Phaethornis ruber) is a species of bird in the family Trochilidae, hummingbirds. It is found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and Guyana.

Taxonomy and systematics

In 1743, the English naturalist George Edwards included a photograph and description of the scarlet hermit in his A Natural History of Uncommon Birds. He used the English name “The Little Brown Hummingbird.”. Edwards based his engraving on a specimen owned by the Duke of Richmond and collected in Suriname.

When the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus updated his Systema Naturae for the tenth edition in 1758, he placed the scarlet hermit in the genus Trochilus with the hummingbirds. Linnaeus added a brief description, created the binomial name Trochilus ruber, and cited Edwards’ work. Specific rubber is a Latin word meaning “red.”. The type of locality is Suriname. 


The Reddish Hermit is 8 to 9 cm (3.1 to 3.5 in) long and weighs 1.8 to 3 g (0.06 to 0.11 oz). All subspecies are generally dark green and rufous on the upperparts and cinnamon rufous on the underparts. Males have a black chest stripe and narrow white or red tail feathers. Females have lighter underparts than males. Pr. episcopus is about the same size as the nominate but has orange rufous instead of cinnamon and white tips for the tail. 

Distribution and accommodation

The subspecies of Red Hermit are divided as follows.

PR Bishops, central and eastern Venezuela, Guyana, and the state of Roraima in northwestern Brazil

PR Ruber, Suriname, and French Guiana through Brazil south to northern ParanĂ¡ state and west to southeastern Peru and northern Bolivia.

PR nigricinctus, eastern and southern Colombia, and extreme southwestern Venezuela, from southeastern Ecuador to northeastern Peru and northwestern Brazil.

PR Longpanes, department of southeastern Peru, from Pasco to northern Cuzco.


A red-headed hermit is thought to be vulgar.


The scarlet hermit, like other hermit hummingbird varieties, is a “trapline” feeder, visiting a circuit of many species of flowering plants for nectar. It also eats small arthropods. In southeastern Brazil, piercing nectar to extract nectar has been regularly observed.


The red hermit’s breeding seasons vary throughout its large range. It usually occurs from May to October in the north and from October to February in the south. The nest is a cone-shaped cup made of plant fibers, moss, lichens, other plant material, and spider webs.

To give voice

The red-headed hermit’s song is “a high-pitched phrase repeated continuously with clear intervals between phrases…equally spaced, slightly down, one note followed by several sharp descending notes, such as ‘tsee.’ ..tsee… tsee…tsee.tse.tsitsi'” is often sung at length on the lex. It included “long shrieking calls” and “stop!” Includes hovering flight call features.

Cool Facts of Reddish Hermit

1. The Reddish Hermit is sometimes considered conspecific with the white-brown hermit (P. stuartii).

2. P. nigrocinctus is the smallest subspecies. It contains the richest parts of Rufus. PR longipennis is the largest subspecies. 

3. Its chin is white and its central tail feathers are rufous.

4. The red hermit is now placed in the genus Fithornis, introduced in 1827 by William Swenson. 

5.  It is attached to the underside of a drooping leaf. The clutch size is two eggs and they are incubated by a single female


The IUCN lists the Reddish Hermit as least concerned, although its population size is unknown and is believed to be declining. It has a large range, is considered “locally common to abundant,”  and occurs in several protected areas.