1. Neuter (такси, пари... — ends in И)
  2. Masculine (кенгуру, фламинго — indeclinable animal names)
  3. Or is it feminine because it's a bird (птица)? Or maybe due to some other causes.

6 Answers 6


It's neither a masculine, feminine or neuter, it's so-called "общий род" (I'm not sure how it's called in English, in Germanic philology it's usually called Utrum). According to wikipedia (formatting is mine):

В русском языке к общему роду относят одушевленные существительные, обозначающие лиц (часто также животных), в зависимости от пола обозначаемого лица согласуемые то по женскому, то по мужскому роду.

This is exactly what de-facto is happening with usage of "колибри" - just like it's stated in answers already provided, depending on context it can be either masculine or feminine.

  • "common gender" is more of grammatically undefined gender rather than a fluid one. What happens here is known as "strict semantic criteria", because gender got strictly linked to nature of subject. Though things like calling a ship with known name "She" in English would fall into this category too
    – Swift
    Aug 10, 2020 at 9:10

Колибри does not have a set gender. Its usage varies:

  • … Илья лишь шептал что-то нежное, очень нежное, а маленькая колибри всхлипывала и от грусти и от счастья одновременно

  • От крошечной колибри до огромных, исключительно редких теперь кондоров.

  • Далее встретились кондор с вытянутым клювом, распластанными крыльями и лапами, колибри, нарисованная на плоской вершине холма, гигантский зловещий тарантул, крокодил, которому Панамериканское шоссе отсекло хвост.

(all feminine)

  • А североамериканский рыжий колибри залетает летом за Полярный круг

  • Великий Гёте кружил по комнате как орел, и стоило мелькнуть фразе, мысли, образу ― он бросался к первому, рядом стоящему столу или конторке и не давал улететь сверкнувшей жар-птице или даже разноперому мелкому колибри

  • От него так и несло духами, он дружелюбно покосился на Николая, достал серебряный портсигар с эмалевым колибри и протянул Николаю.

(all masculine)

Most dictionaries mark it as "masculine and feminine", Академический Орфографический Словарь marks it as feminine only.

From what I can judge, feminine usage does prevail.


It can be either masculine or feminine: http://gramdict.ru/search/%D0%9A%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%B1%D1%80%D0%B8

  • 1
    can you please expand you answer with some quote - otherwise I'll have to turn it into a comment. Links do expire quite often, and the answer supposed to be self-sufficient to some extent.
    – shabunc
    Aug 10, 2020 at 7:56

Most recent dictionaries are prime source for this information, but there are also cases of common misuse.

Variant 3. is actually how most Russians would treat it, essentially approaching word as a false proper name. If actual gender of bird is known, that may apply. We tend use masculine or feminine pronouns in relation to animals, "he" or "she" instead of "it". Colloquially it may be used as common–neuter gender too, referring by pronoun "оно".

For foreign words which didn't acquire Russian inflexion, dictionaries often define masculine or neuter gender, but rarely and only lately there are several genders. Over time standards had changed under influence of dialectic use in speech.

E.g. кофе - coffee got both masculine and neuter gender, though latter appeared only recently. Classic textbooks of yore would say that saying "оно" about it is incorrect.


In some old dictionaries it's marked as feminine or masculine, but according to newest ones it's both feminine and masculine. It depends on a context. Example: маленькая колибри or маленький колибри



The gender of "колибри" is fluid as it is for all animals. Compare:

  1. Колибри - маленькая птичка. Она питается нектаром и умеет зависать в воздухе.
  2. Колибри - маленькое животное. Оно, как правило, живёт в теплых странах.
  3. Колибри - мелкий вредитель. Он совершает налёты на цветочные луга и часто беспокоит фермеров :)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.