Plain-capped Starthroat

Plain-capped Starthroat
Plain-capped Starthroat (credit: ALAN SCHMIERER)

Plain-capped Starthroats are large hummingbirds but quite dull-colored compared to the rest of their family.

Plain-capped Starthroats’ colorful spots are their bright-red to purplish-red throat patches that are hard to see as they look dark in most lighting conditions and their metallic bronze-green crown, backs, and tails.

Other distinctive features include a white streak behind the eye, a white mustache, and a white patch on the rump. Their breasts and bellies are grayish-white. Females are less colorful than males.

  • Heliomaster constantii
  • Length: 4.33 – 5.1 in (11 – 13 cm)
  • Weight:  0.24 – 0.28 oz (7 – 8 g)
  • Wingspan: (13 cm)


Although rare in North America, Plain-capped Starthroats can be seen at the end of the breeding season between June and September in southeastern Arizona at Miller Canyon and the Paton Center for Hummingbirds.

Habitat And Diet

You can find Plain-capped Starthroats in arid or semi-arid deciduous forests, thorn forests, open areas with scattered trees, and streams along dry forest edges between Mexico and Costa Rica.

Plain-capped Starthroats naturally feed on nectar from many flowering plants but their favorite is nectar from red-colored and tubular-shaped flowers. They also eat small insects by catching them in the air from an exposed perch and by finding them in vegetation.

Plain-capped Starthroat Call:


Nests of Plain-capped Starthroats are made of plant fibers woven together with lichen on the outside. The lichen serves as camouflage as the nest blends in a protected location in a shrub, bush, or tree.

The inner part of the nest is lined with soft fibers, and animal hair and strengthened by spider webs allowing it to expand and stretch to give more room in the nest when the young grow up.

Females lay two eggs. She also incubates the eggs alone for fourteen to seventeen days. The male shares no responsibility towards young rearing at all. Twenty days from hatching, the young may leave the nest.

Fun Fact:

The female feeds the chicks with regurgitated food. She pushes her long bill through the chicks’ throats and up to the chicks’ stomachs so she can deliver the food directly.