The green violetear (Colibri thalassinus) is a medium-sized, metallic green hummingbird species commonly found in forested areas from Mexico to northern South America.
The green violetear belongs to the order Apodiformes. Hummingbirds share this order with the swifts, such as the white-collared swift. The name Apodiformes is derived from the Greek words “a pous,” meaning “without foot.” While apodiforms do in fact have feet, they are quite small and their legs are short and relatively weak. Many birds in this order cannot walk, and thus rarely if ever land on the ground since quick escape from predators is virtually impossible. For this reason members of this order spend a majority of their time in the air.
The violetear genus (Colibri) includes three other species: sparkling violetear, brown violetear, and white-vented violetear. The green and sparkling violetears are similar in appearance and overlap in range but are generally found at different altitudes and in different habitats. These four hummingbirds are characterized by their violet ear patches. In all four species there is no strong sexual dimorphism.