Birds Species

Sooty-capped Hermit History and 5 Best Facts

Sooty-capped Hermit History

The Sooty-capped Hermit (Phaethornis augusti) is a species of bird in the family Trochilidae, hummingbirds. It is found in Brazil, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela.

Taxonomy and systematics

The Sooty-capped Hermit is closely related to the planalto hermit (P. pretari) and may form a superspecies with it. Three subspecies of sooty hermit are recognized, designated P. A. Augusti, P. A. creosus, and P. A. incancense. A fourth proposed subspecies, P. a. In the Colombian Andes, the vicarious cannot be separated from the nominative


A Sooty-capped Hermit is about 14 to 15 cm (5.5 to 5.9 in) long. Males weigh 4.5 to 6 grams (0.16 to 0.21 oz) and females weigh 4 to 5 grams (0.14 to 0.18 oz). They are mostly grey-brown in color with a tail and upper tail. The front to inner tail feathers are longer than the others and have a white tip at the top. Their undersides are gray. The face has a black “mask” with a white supercilium and gular stripe. The subspecies differ slightly in breast intensity upper tail colors and the size of the gill band.[6] Once considered a separate species, P. fumosus is a melanistic form of the sooty-covered hermit.

Range and habitat

The sooty hermit hummingbird is found from southeastern Mexico through Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica to central and western Panama. Its natural habitats are tropical and subtropical moist broad-leaved forests, orchards, rural gardens and old forests. It is found at an altitude of 1200 meters above sea level.

This species of bird is year-round throughout most of its range. However some seasonal movements have been noted, and in some areas, the abundance of this species appears to increase during the wet season. It does not migrate for long periods but may move to lower altitudes during dry months.

Also Read: Grey-chinned hermit


The Sooty-capped Hermit is considered mostly sedentary, but some seasonal vertical movement has been documented.

Also Read: Reddish hermit


The sooty-covered hermit is a “trapline” feeder like other hermit hummingbirds, visiting a circuit of flowering plants for nectar. It also feeds on small arthropods and has been observed trapping them in buildings.


Active nests of sooty hermits have been found in Venezuela between February and July and also between September and December. The nest is a cone-shaped cup. The outer wall was made of a common moss and cobweb with patches of dried mud. It was hung from a nail in the barn by a strong thread of spider silk. The nest can be reused several times in a season. The clutch size is two eggs.

A male duck sings perched on a metal pole, neck outstretched and beak open.

Also Read: White-browed hermit


The IUCN rates the Sooty-capped Hermit as least concerned. Although its population size is unknown it is considered stable. It is considered locally common and uncommon and appears to have “adapted to human-altered habitats.

Also Read: Black-throated hermit

Cool Facts of Sooty-capped Hermit

1. This species can produce multiple offspring in a single breeding season. Pairs usually do not stay together for subsequent nests.

2. The female is solely responsible for building the nest and caring for the eggs and chicks.

3.  PA Augusti – Found from southern Mexico to northwestern Costa Rica.

4. PA saturatus – Found from central Costa Rica to western Panama. Distinguished by dark feathers on the back and tail.

5. PA veraguensis – found in western Panama. It has a light gray cap and a slightly smaller bill.