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Antillean Crested Hummingbird - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Ronsphotos
Ffreyes Beach, west side of Antigua, West Indies, April, 2011
Orthorhyncus cristatus


Female, subspecies exilis
Photo by njlarsen
Dominica, January 2004

8–9·5 cm (3-3¾ in)
The male has green upperparts except for a blackish tail lacking the white tips seen in the female, dark gray underparts, and in addition shows a pointed crest. Seen from the front, the crest looks like a flat shield that in the right light is shiny green (northern end of range) or greenish-violet (southern end of range).
The female,is green above and underparts light.
Both males and females have a short straight bill.


This bird is known from Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Lesser Antilles south to and including Grenada. The bird is resident in all these islands, but some dispersion is possible, for example is the range in Puerto Rico increasing from the NE corner.



Male, subspecies cristatus
Photo by Jonathan Farmer
Barbados, June 2007

There are 4 subspecies[1]

  • O. c. exilis:
  • O. c. ornatus:
  • St. Vincent (Lesser Antilles)
  • O. c. cristatus:
  • O. c. emigrans:
  • Lesser Antilles (Grenadines and Grenada)


Prefers open and semi-open areas from sea level to high into mountains. Seen more often in the lower, drier areas. The range of habitats include ornamental gardens and other cultivated areas in addition to the original scrub-forests and higher elevation wetter forest.



Photo by njlarsen
Savane Paille, Dominica, August 2017

They feed on nectar from flowering shrubs and vines, also the lower branches of trees and hedges. As many hummingbirds, they augment the diet with insects. Being somewhat flexible in diet is a must in an area where Hurricanes occur somewhat regularly.

Is often limited to feeding from the smallest flowers available by competition with other species of hummingbirds.


They construct a small cup-shaped nest on a twig about 1–3 m above ground. They breed throughout the year.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved January 2017)

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