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Santa Marta Sabrewing Campylopterus phainopeplus
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This species has very small breeding and non-breeding ranges, within which it is known from few locations. Habitat loss and degradation are continuing, and population and range declines are thus suspected. It therefore qualifies as Endangered.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

13 cm. Large, glittering, green hummingbird. Slightly decurved, stout black bill. Male mainly glittering green. Green forecrown. Glittering green hindcrown and rest of upperparts. Glittering blue throat and chest. Steely blue-black, square tail. Female shiny green above, duller forecrown and cheeks. Grey below with green flanks and undertail-coverts. Green tail, narrowly tipped grey. Similar spp. White-vented Plumeleteer Chalybura buffonii of lowlands has shorter tail and green (not white) undertail-coverts. Voice Plaintive double note twit-twit.

Distribution and population
Campylopterus phainopeplus is endemic to the Santa Marta mountains, north-east Colombia, where it is locally fairly common on the south-east and north slopes (Hilty and Brown 1986, L. G. Olarte and M. Pearman per P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1998, 1999 and verbally 2000, (P. Coopmans in litt. 2000). The few recent records (G. M. Kirwan in litt 1998) are from two sites on the south-east slope (L. G. Olarte and M. Pearman per P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1998, 1999 and verbally 2000) and one on the San Lorenzo ridge (P. Coopmans in litt. 2000), the massif's north-western extremity, during the 1990s. The paucity of records is presumably related to a lack of observers in this politically and militarily sensitive region (G. M. Kirwan in litt 1998), although the reason it went unrecorded on the relatively well-watched San Lorenzo ridge until 1999 is unknown.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
A moderate and on-going decline is suspected, owing to habitat loss and fragmentation.

It is an altitudinal migrant inhabiting humid forest borders at 1,200-1,800 m (Hilty and Brown 1986, L. G. Olarte and M. Pearman per P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1998, 1999 and verbally 2000) during the dry season (February-May), when it feeds particularly on banana flowers in shade coffee plantations, while in the wet season (June-October) it is found in open páramo up to the snowline at 4,800 m (Hilty and Brown 1986, Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990). Breeding condition birds have been recorded from April to June, and displaying individuals have been seen in June and July (Hilty and Brown 1986).

Only 15% of the original vegetation in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta remains (L. M. Renjifo in litt. 1993 and verbally 2000). The main threat is the conversion of forest to marijuana and coca plantations (L. G. Olarte in litt. 1993, L. M. Renjifo in litt. 1993 and verbally 2000, J. Fjeldså verbally 2000), which has been compounded by the government spraying herbicides (L. G. Olarte in litt. 1993, L. M. Renjifo in litt. 1993 and verbally 2000). It is not known whether this activity is still undertaken by the Colombian authorities (L. M. Renjifo in litt. 1993 and verbally 2000). From the 1950s onwards, immigration to the area has been considerable, and agricultural expansion (e.g. coffee and livestock), logging, burning and afforestation with exotic trees (e.g. pines) (IUCN 1992, Dinerstein et al. 1995, L. G. Olarte and M. Pearman per P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1998, 1999 and verbally 2000, Salazar and Strewe undated) have caused extensive forest loss. The high-altitude breeding habitat is not known to be significantly threatened. The species is fairly common in shade coffee plantations when not breeding, but the extent of such plantations is decreasing (L. G. Olarte and M. Pearman per P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1998, 1999 and verbally 2000).

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is protected by two national designations and is an international Biosphere Reserve (L. G. Olarte and M. Pearman per P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1998, 1999 and verbally 2000), but this has not conserved the massif's ecosystems effectively.Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to locate population strongholds (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, T. Züchner in litt. 1999). Protect effectively areas harbouring healthy populations (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, T. Züchner in litt. 1999). Work with local communities and regional institutions to identify and prioritise conservation and management strategies (Salazar and Strewe undated).

Dinerstein, E.; Olson, D. M.; Graham, D. J.; Webster, A. L.; Primm, S. A.; Bookbinder, M. P.; Ledec, G. 1995. A conservation assesssment of the terrestrial ecoregions of Latin America and the Caribbean. World Bank, Washington, D.C.

Fjeldså, J.; Krabbe, N. 1990. Birds of the high Andes. Apollo Books, Copenhagen.

Hilty, S. L.; Brown, W. L. 1986. A guide to the birds of Colombia. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

IUCN. 1992. Protected areas of the world: a review of national systems. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, U.K.

Salazar, F.; Strewe, R. undated. Ornithological research and conservation initiatives on the northern slope of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia.

Further web sources of information
Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) species/site profile. This species has been identified as an AZE trigger due to its IUCN Red List status and limited range.

Click here for more information about the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE)

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Isherwood, I., Sharpe, C J, Stuart, T., Symes, A.

Coopmans, P., Fjeldså, J., Kirwan, G., Olarte, L., Renjifo, L., Salaman, P., Züchner, T.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Campylopterus phainopeplus. Downloaded from on 20/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 20/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
Species name author Salvin & Godman, 1879
Population size 1500-7000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1,100 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species