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Red-legged Honeycreeper - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Reini
Costa Rica
Cyanerpes cyaneus


12 cm
Long, slightly decurved black bill, black eye, short tail.
Male in breeding plumage: purple-blue with black lores, mantle, wings and tail, purple-blue scapulars and rump, turquoise crown, yellow underwings, red legs. Male in non-breeding plumage: Green overall, but black in tail and wings still there; above the black lore is a pale stripe, and the throat and underparts are streaked lemon.

Photo © by Reini
Costa Rica, February 2005

Female green overall including upper wings and tail, with yellow underwings. Similarly to non-breeding male, but has lemon streaking on underparts that become more solid lemon on belly and undertail coverts. Dusky-black lores with a pale supraloral stripe continuing above and behind the eye and reddish legs.
Immature green overall; the males moult and put on their distinctive colours a bit later.

Similar species

Short-billed Honeycreeper shares red legs, but differs in blue crown same colour as the mantle (not lighter turquoise) and blackish throat and breast, and a shorter bill. Shining Honeycreeper and Purple Honeycreeper additionally differ in yellow legs.


Southern Mexico and Cuba through Central America to Bolivia and Brazil as well as both Trinidad and Tobago.



  • C. c. carneipes: Gulf slope of southern Mexico to northern Colombia; Coiba Island and Pearl Island
  • C. c. gemmeus: Northern Colombia (Serranía de Macuire on Guajira Peninsula)
Juvenile male (nearly completed moult to adult)
Photo © by photosloz
Arenal, Costa Rica, January 2008


Humid forests, deciduous forests, woodland edges, shrubby areas, plantations.

In Trinidad described as a "wanderer" outside breeding season, where it can turn up in unexpected places.


It feeds on insects and nectar from flowering trees, but will also visit fruit feeders.


  1. Clements, JF. 2008. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2008. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  2. BF Member observations

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.