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Males are dark green with long forked tails and a small violet throat patch. Females are green above and white below with large green spots. Empress Brilliants have slow wing beats and buzz around the lower and mid levels of the forest looking for tubular flowers. They usually hover right below these flowers and probe upwards for nectar. While both males and females spend time in the canopy, only females are usually seen in the low understory.
These large hummingbirds are denizens of cloud forests, forest borders, wet foothills, and neighboring areas of tall second growth, therefore its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest and subtropical or tropical moist montane forest. It is found in Colombia and Ecuador.
Male 15-17 cm, 9·3 g; female 12-13·5 cm, 8·3 g.