Hummingbirds are part of the family Trochilidae in which thousands of different birds from the genus occur in America. Sylph hummingbirds, with the genus Aglaiocercus, are part of the family of hummingbirds and are found mostly in South America. The genus Aglaiocercus has three different sylph hummingbirds, long-tailed sylph (Aglaiocercus kingi), violet-tailed sylph (Aglaiocercus coelestis), and venezuelan sylph (Aglaiocercus berlepschi). The long-tailed sylph (Aglaiocercus kingi) is the most widespread sylph bird species in the genus and is the only sylph found on the eastern slopes of the Andes, the mountain range in South America that goes through Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Colombia. Tandayapa, in Ecuador, is also a hotspot for the violet-tailed sylph.
Sylph hummingbirds are long-tailed South American sylphs with green bodies and glossy purple and blue details on their body and tails. The long-tailed sylph and the violet-tailed sylph are often mistaken for one another as they look quite the same in many aspects, including their blue-green coloration and long tail feathers. However, the male and female species of the birds have some range of differences. Although the long-tailed sylph and the violet-tailed sylph have many similarities in the description, their range of distribution does not normally coincide.
The family of the bird species of hummingbirds is quite large. Read about the hummingbird and the bee hummingbird on the Kidadl website.
What do they prey on?
Nectar, Small Spiders, Insects
What do they eat?
Average litter size?
How much do they weigh?
0.01-0.011 lb (4.6–4.9 g)
How long are they?
3.8-7 in (97-180 mm)
How tall are they?
What do they look like?
Blue-Green, Long Tail
What are their main threats?
Habitat Loss, Degradation
What is their conservation status?
Least Concern, Endangered for Venezuelan sylphs
Where you'll find them
Forest Areas, Near Flowers
Sylph Hummingbird Interesting Facts
What type of animal is a sylph hummingbird?
The bird species of the long-tailed sylph, violet-tailed sylph, and the Venezuelan sylph are part of the family of hummingbirds.
What class of animal does a sylph hummingbird belong to?
Long-tailed sylph (Aglaiocercus kingi), violet-tailed sylph (Aglaiocercus coelestis), and Venezuelan sylphs (Aglaiocercus berlepschi) belong to the class of Aves in the Animalia kingdom.
How many sylph hummingbirds are there in the world?
The long-tailed sylph is quite commonly found in Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, and Ecuador whereas the violet-tailed sylph occurs naturally in Colombia and Ecuador. The Venezuelan sylph has a restricted range of Venezuela only. It is said that only 2500-9999 Venezuelan sylph birds are currently present, while the long-tailed sylph and violet-tailed sylph are abundantly found all over their wild habitat. The population numbers of these two bird species are currently not available.
Where do sylph hummingbirds live?
The long-tailed sylph is mostly found on the edges of high elevation forests near Ecuador and other South American countries. The long-tailed sylph is found in subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. The violet-tailed sylph however occurs naturally in low inside forest areas at an elevation ranging from 300-2100 meters. They are found mostly above 900 meters on the west slope of the Andes. They are found close to small clumps of flowers. Venezuelan sylphs are sometimes considered a subspecies of the long-tailed sylph, as they resemble them a lot. The Venezuelan sylph bird is found in forest and scrubland on coastal mountain slopes from 4757-5905 ft (1,450-1,800 m) above sea level. They do not overlap with the range in the wild of the long-tailed sylph bird species.
All the bird species are also seen at hummingbird feeders and flying over them. The lodges in Tandayapa Valley in Ecuador have these feeders where the violet-tailed sylphs can be seen in large numbers.
What is a sylph hummingbird's habitat?
The long-tailed sylph is found from Venezuela south to Bolivia and is the only sylph bird species found on the eastern slopes of the Andes. They are also found on the western slopes of the Andes in Colombia and Ecuador.
The violet-tailed sylph is found along the Pacific coast of the western Andes of both Colombia and north and central Ecuador. They are also found in southwest Ecuador. Hummingbird feeders in the lodges of the Tandayapa Valley in and around January are frequently visited by the blue-green bird species for feeding, after heavy showers.
The Venezuelan sylph is found in the coastal mountain ranges of northeast Venezuela. The range of these birds with long tail feathers is quite restricted and the population is declining.
Who do sylph hummingbirds live with?
These hummingbirds are usually solitary, except for breeding season. They do not stay in flocks. They also do not bond in pairs.
How long does a sylph hummingbird live?
The usual lifespan in the wild for the long-tailed sylph, violet-tailed sylph, and Venezuelan sylph is three or four years.
How do they reproduce?
The males of the species actually have no part in the reproduction process except for the mating ritual with the females. The tail feathers of the males are very long and this is what attracts females towards them. The long tail depicts strength and the female selects the male with the longest tail. Males are known to court the female by flying in front of them in a U-shaped pattern. One male can mate with different female species, and the same thing goes for the females too. The males are not included in the process of choosing the nests or raising the chicks. The average clutch is one egg and the female incubates alone while the male protects the territory and the flowers.
The female feeds the chicks with small insects and the chicks leave the nest in 20 days.
What is their conservation status?
The long-tailed sylph and the violet-tailed sylph are found abundantly in the world, but the population of the Venezuelan sylph is decreasing and the IUCN Red List has categorized this species as Endangered.
Sylph Hummingbird Fun Facts
What do sylph hummingbirds look like?
The long-tailed sylph (Aglaiocercus kingi) is a short-billed hummingbird with a long tail. The upper side of the tail is colored glittering blue-green. The male also has a green crown and throat. The females have a much shorter tail and have a white throat with green speckles.
The violet-tailed sylph (Aglaiocercus coelestis) has a blue-violet tail and a blue crown. The body is green with orangey-copper color on the throat and chest. The female is also green.
The Venezuelan sylph resembles the long-tailed sylph.
The long tail feathers of the males of the long-tailed sylph make flying cumbersome and they need a fair bit of exercise to overcome this problem.
How cute are they?
They are very beautiful with vivid colors and their small size makes them very cute.
How do they communicate?
They communicate by a call described as rapid, double-sounding 'tez-it'.
How big is a sylph hummingbird?
The length of the birds ranges from 3.8-7 in (97-180 mm).
The males have an elaborate long tail. The longest one in a bird is three feet long and is attached to the ribbon-tailed astrapia.
The Rufous hummingbird in comparison is a small hummingbird with a size of only 3.1 in (7.87 cm). They do not have a tail.
How fast can a sylph hummingbird fly?
The speed of the species is unknown but the long tail feathers hamper the flying speed in the birds.
Anna's hummingbird is a species of hummingbird that can fly up to a speed of 61 mph (98.17 kph).
How much does a sylph hummingbird weigh?
The weight of the long-tailed sylph (Aglaiocercus kingi) ranges from 0.01-0.011 lb (4.6 – 4.9 g). All the other species too have the same weight.
What are the male and female names of the species?
The male and female of the species are not given different names.
What would you call a baby sylph hummingbird?
They are called chicks.
What do they eat?
The bird usually feeds on nectar, insects, and, sometimes small spiders. They prefer brightly colored, scented flowers with high sugar content.
Like different hummingbirds, such as the ruby-throated hummingbird and Esmeralda's Woodstar, all the sylphs, like the long-tailed sylph and the violet-tailed sylph, feed on nectar and insects in similar sites.
These birds are also seen at hummingbird feeders as well. They are often seen feeding on the nectar of flowers from hummingbird feeders in the morning sun.
Are they dangerous?
They are not dangerous.
Would they make a good pet?
These birds are not considered pets. It is illegal and they cannot survive outside the wild for long.
Did you know...
The mountain range of the Andes is one of the common grounds for the long-tailed sylph birds.
The long-tailed sylph can lick nectar up to 13 times each second.
They usually lay only one egg.
They are not endemic and the Venezuelan sylph is currently endangered.
Common predators of the family Trochilidae include snakes and falcons, among others. They have a lot of nest predators too, some of which are jays and bats.
Why do hummingbirds have long tails?
Male hummingbirds have long tails to attract females during the mating season.
How many eggs do sylph hummingbirds lay?
The females lay only one egg and the males do not take part in the breeding process. The females find the nesting area alone, incubate the egg alone, and take care of the chick alone.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including chinstrap penguin facts or frigate bird facts.
At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.
We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.
Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.
Sponsorship & Advertising Policy
Kidadl is independent and to make our service free to you the reader we are supported by advertising.
We hope you love our recommendations for products and services! What we suggest is selected independently by the Kidadl team. If you purchase using the buy now button we may earn a small commission. This does not influence our choices. Please note: prices are correct and items are available at the time the article was published.
Kidadl has a number of affiliate partners that we work with including Amazon. Please note that Kidadl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.
We also link to other websites, but are not responsible for their content.