Antillean Crested Hummingbird (Orthorhyncus cristatus)

Antillean Crested Hummingbird


The Antillean crested hummingbird (Orthorhyncus cristatus) is a species of hummingbird in the family Trochilidae. Found across Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Montserrat, north-east Puerto Rico, Saba, Saint-Barthélemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Eustatius, the British Virgin Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Lesser Antilles, while it has also been recorded as a vagrant in Florida, USA. As the name implies, Antillean crested hummingbird is one of the few hummingbirds with a crest. It demonstrates the general sexual dimorphism for hummingbirds where the male is bright and colorful whilst the female is more tannish and dull.[11] Males have a short straight black bill; head with green crest, tipped metallic green to bright blue-green, upperparts dull metallic bronze-green; underparts sooty black; tail black, rounded. The female bill is similar to male’s but its head is without a crest; the forehead, crown and upperparts are metallic bronzy-green; underparts light grey; tail blackish, rounded, four outer rectrices broadly tipped whitish grey.

Distribution And Habitat

The Antillean Crested Hummingbird is a common resident throughout the Lesser Antilles, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico (Raffaele and others 1998), principally on the eastern coast of the island including Culebra (Ventosa-Febles and others 2005) and Vieques (Gemmill 2015). The species is believed to be a relatively recent arrival from the Virgin Islands and the Lesser Antilles. First documented with a specimen from Vieques in 1912 (Wetmore 1916), it was not found on mainland Puerto Rico in 1875– 1876 by Gundlach (1878) nor in 1911–1912 by Wetmore (1916, 1917), who was skeptical of reports of the species occurrence on the main island. Even as late as 1950, the species was described as being of doubtful occurrence on Puerto Rico but by 1960 it was recognized as occurring in eastern Puerto Rico (Bond 1961, 1967), where it was believed to be expanding its range to the south (Raffaele 1989a). This species mostly occurs in lowland openings, developed areas, gardens, forest edges, and especially arid and dry forests, but also mountain forests, at least on other islands (Biaggi 1997, Raffaele and others 1998, Schuchmann and Boesman 2020). The atlas fieldwork yielded a total of 86 records within 47 hexagons or 10 percent of the 479 total hexagons (see map). Of the 47 hexagons where this species was found, breeding met the atlas definition of confirmed in 17 percent (8) of the hexagons, probable in 15 percent (7), and possible in 66 percent (31), while the species was observed in 2 percent (1) of the hexagons but without evidence of breeding (see map). Antillean Crested Hummingbird distribution. The map shows the highest breeding code by hexagon and overlaying the ecological life zones in Puerto Rico. Note: percentages may not total 100 due to rounding. 89Antillean Crested Hummingbird/Zumbadorcito Crestado

Antillean Crested Hummingbird Distribution

Breeding Habits

The Antillean Crested Hummingbird nests in a tiny cup of cotton or fine fibers covered with lichens in a tree, bush, or vine above the ground, year-round, but primarily from January to August, according to previously published reports (Raffaele and others 1998). Atlas results indicate that this species breeding season extends throughout the year (except for the atlas data gap in August), with the most breeding activity from January through July (see chart). This seasonal breeding pattern appears to coincide in each of the life zones with only a slight indication that breeding in the driest months (February, March, April) is reduced relative to the subtropical moist forest life zone. Results show that this species mostly breeds on the coastal plain within the subtropical dry forest life zone (50 percent of the hexagons), the subtropical moist forest life zone (48 percent of the hexagons), and for only one hexagon (2 percent of the hexagons) in the subtropical rain and lower montane rain forest life zones (see table and map).


This species is listed as a species of least concern by the IUCN (BirdLife International 2016), and locally it is not listed in any of the threatened categories used by PRDNER and USFWS. In Puerto Rico, the Antillean Crested Hummingbird has a protected habitat in land of about 14 percent or 152 km2 of the total area covered by the hexagons where evidence of breeding was found for this species (~1096 km2).