Backyard Birds

Snowy-breasted or Snowy-bellied Hummingbirds

The Snowy-bellied Hummingbird (Amazilia edward) – also known as Snowy-breasted or Edward’s Hummingbird – is found in Costa Rica, Panama and extreme north-western Colombia (close to the border with Panama). Within its natural range, this hummingbird is referred to as Amazilia de Edward.

They inhabit subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests or montanes, as well as heavily degraded former forest.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • Amazilia edward edward (DeLattre and Bourcier, 1846) – Nominate Race
    • Range: Panama, from Canal Zone to western Darién
    • Amazilia edward niveoventer (Gould, 1851) – Range: Southwestern Costa Rica to western and central Panama
    • Amazilia edward collata (Wetmore, 1952)
      • Range: Central Panama.
    • Amazilia edward margaritarum (Griscom, 1927)
      • Range: Northern Gulf of Panama, in Pearl Is and on Urabá I, Taboga I and Taboguilla I; East Panama to Southwest Darién.


The Snowy-bellied Hummingbird is easily identified by its glittering green chest and contrasting white abdomen. The head, back and throat are green in most races. Subspecies Amazilia . edward niveoventer from southwestern Costa Rica, western and central Panama has a blue-black tail and a coppery-greenish lower back – these areas are rufous-colored in the nominate species found in Panama. Based on this difference, the race A. e. niveoventer has in the past been considered a separate species.

Males and females look alike.

Similar Species: The Snowy-breasteds are easily confused with male or female Mangrove Hummingbirds, which have an adjacent range but not overlapping with that of the Snowy-breasted. The males of both species are mostly green with a white abdomen. However, in the male Snowy-bellied, the contrast between the green throat and the white abdomen is clearer. Also, the Snowy-bellied’s tail is black, while the Mangrove’s is bronzy green. Additionally, the Snowy-breasted’s rump is green to coppery green, while the Mangrove’s is green to coppery bronze.

Nesting / Breeding

Hummingbirds are solitary in all aspects of life other than breeding; and the male’s only involvement in the reproductive process is the actual mating with the female.

Diet / Feeding

The Snowy-bellied Hummingbirds primarily feed on nectar taken from a variety of brightly colored, scented small flowers of trees, herbs, shrubs and epiphytes.

Hummingbird Resources


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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