Lazuline sabrewing (Campylopterus falcatus)

Synonyms: Trochilus falcatus
GenusCampylopterus (1)
SizeSize: 11.5 – 13 cm (2)
Weightc.7.6 g (2)

Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List 2004 (1) and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).

Sabrewings are large hummingbirds of the tropical New World, which are known for bearing some of the most glittering plumage and colourful adornments in the bird world (4). Indeed, the lazuline sabrewing earns its common name for the beautiful azure, lazuline blue plumage on its throat and breast, which is coupled with glittering green upperparts and belly, bluer on the crown, and a chestnut-brown tail, all with a dazzling iridescent sheen (2) (5). Females differ slightly, being grey underneath, with a blue throat and a white spot behind the eye (2) (5). Like other sabrewings, the black bill is strong and slightly downwardly curved. The shaft of the male sabrewings’ two outermost primary flight feathers are thickened, flattened and bent at an angle, which distinctive feature has given the sabrewings their scientific name, Campylopterus, meaning ‘bent wing’ (4).

Found on both slopes of the East Andes (6) in north-western South America, in the countries of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela (1).

The lazuline sabrewing occupies humid montane semi-deciduous forest, forest borders, flowering gardens and shady plantations (2) (6), ranging from around 900 – 3,000 m altitude (2).

The lazuline sabrewing is poorly understood and requires detailed study (6). Individuals from the Perija mountains of Venezuela and Columbia have been observed in breeding condition in June (2). Females of other sabrewing species are known to lay two white eggs in relatively large cup nests on low horizontal branches, usually over streams (4), and it is likely that this species displays similar reproductive characteristics. The lazuline sabrewing feeds on nectar, reached with its long curved bill from flowering ericads, such as Heliconias and Hibiscus (2) (4) (5). Additionally, insects are caught from the air and gleaned from foliage (2).

Due to its large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 87,000 km², and estimated population over at least 10,000 mature individuals, the lazuline sabrewing has been classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List 2004 (7). Even though the species has been described as ‘uncommon’ in at least parts of its range, it is not thought to be in any serious decline (i.e. declining more than 30 % in ten years or three generations), although population size and trends require quantifying (7).

No direct conservation measures are currently in place for the species.

For more information on the lazuline sabrewing see:

Lazuline Sabrewing, species account No. 45. p. 553. In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. (Eds.) Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 5. Barn-owls to Hummingbirds. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

For more information on this and other bird species please see:

Authenticated (06/01/2006) by Loreta Rosselli, secretary of Colombia’s National Ornithological Association.

  1. IUCN Red List (November, 2011)