Bird of the Week, June 1, 2012
Saw-billed Hermit

Saw-billed Hermit by Dario Sanches


The Saw-billed Hermit is a striking hummingbird, with a buff eyebrow, orange throat with dark stripe down the middle, and densely streaked breast. It is heavy for a hummingbird, weighing in at around ten grams. Its straight, hooked-tip bill has tiny serrations, which gives the bird its name.


Like other hermits, Saw-bills are "trap-line” feeders, meaning that they visit plants for nectar along a fairly long, linear route.  Although still considered fairly common within its limited range, this hummingbird is suspected to be declining because of habitat loss caused by agricultural and urban expansion, road-building, and mining. Its Atlantic Forest habitat is one of the most threatened ecosystems in the world, and has lost over 90% of its original area in recent years.


More information on the Saw-billed Hermit, including its ecology, population, and population trends, is needed for this species to be adequately conserved, but protection of remaining habitat is key for this and other birds of the Atlantic Forest.


ABC supported conservation of the Saw-billed Hermit by helping purchase more than 500 acres of Atlantic Forest habitat to increase the size of the Reserva Ecologica Guapiaçu. This reserve now protects around 11,000 acres for this and other Atlantic Forest inhabitants.


If you interested in visiting this reserve, see Conservation Birding’s website

Photo by Dario Sanches; Range Map, NatureServe