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Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird Lepidopyga lilliae
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The very small range and rarity of this species suggest that its population is extremely small and that the population size at each of the known locations is tiny. Its habitat, and by inference the population, have undergone a considerable decline that may be continuing. This combination of factors leads to classification as Critically 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: #

9 cm. Glittering, blue-bellied hummingbird. Medium-length, nearly-straight bill, black above and tip, with reddish lower. Male is shining green above. Entire underparts glittering blue. Blue-black forked tail. Female has not been formally described. Similar spp. Male Sapphire-throated Hummingbird L. coeruleogularis lacks glittering blue lower breast and belly, but can appear very similar to L. lilliae according to light conditions. Female L. coeruleogularis all white below with green sides. Greyish-white tail tips. Voice Unknown.

Distribution and population
Lepidopyga lilliae is known locally on the Caribbean coast of Colombia (Atlántico, Magdalena and La Guajira; Renjifo et al. 2002), most records originating in Isla de Salamanca National Park or Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999). It appears to be either rare or sporadic at the few known localities. The population size is low and it appears to move locally according to season (J. C. de las Casas in litt. 2008). It is likely to have declined since the mid-1970s owing to habitat loss. In 2013 a male was apparently photographed at Bocas del Atrato, Antioquia, c. 400 km SW of the known range (Surfbirds 2013).

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 50-249 mature 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 75-374 individuals in total, rounded here to 70-400 individuals.

Trend justification
Trends are poorly known, but it is suspected to be declining rapidly owing to pollution and mangrove cutting/die-back.

The species shows a preference for forests of Erythrina fusca while they are flowering. At other times it frequents mangroves where it feeds, at least in part, on insects (J. C. De Las Casas in litt. 2008).

Construction of a pipeline and road through the wetlands of the Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta and Isla de Salamanca in the mid-1970s obstructed tidal flow and caused very extensive mangrove die-back, continuing until at least 1992 (Wege and Long 1995), although mangroves are now regenerating in some areas (Salaman and Giles 1995). Domestic and industrial pollution, sewage, urbanisation and particularly mangrove and forest cutting are further problems. Land is being sold to build a large-scale port in the future, representing a potentially severe threat to the species's remaining habitat (J. C. De Las Casas in litt. 2007).

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It occurs in two protected areas: Isla de Salamanca (21,000 ha) and Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta Flora and Fauna Sanctuary (26,810 ha) (Schuchmann et al. 2015). Isla de Salamanca National Park, Magdalena, receives little effective protection and habitat loss has been considerable. Despite a number of searches, there have been very few records within the national park during the 1990s and 2000s (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, R. Strewe in litt. 1999, J. C. De Las Casas in litt. 2008). The Corporación Sentido Natural and the Fundación Colibri are researching its taxonomic status and ecological requirements.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct field surveys to clarify its distribution and population. Research its taxonomic status. Study its ecological requirements (Renjifo et al. 2002). Improve active protection of Isla de Salamanca National Park. Increase the area of suitable habitat that has protected status. Restore damaged mangrove ecosystems (Renjifo et al. 2002). Clarify status at Bocas del Atrato, Antioquia.

Collar, N. J.; Gonzaga, L. P.; Krabbe, N.; Madroño Nieto, A.; Naranjo, L. G.; Parker, T. A.; Wege, D. C. 1992. Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

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

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Peters, J. L. 1945. Checklist of birds of the world. Museum of Comparative Zoology, Cambridge, USA.

Renjifo, L. M.; Franco-Maya, A. M.; Amaya-Espinel, J. D.; Kattan, G. H.; López-Lanús, B. 2002. Libro rojo de aves de Colombia. Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt y Ministerio del Medio Ambiente, Bogotá, Colombia.

Salaman, P. G. W.; Giles, O. A. R. 1995. Notes on threatened bird from Colombia between July--December 1994.

Schuchmann, K.L., Boesman, P. and Sharpe, C.J. 2015. Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird (Lepidopyga lilliae). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. and de Juana, E. (eds), Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive, Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

Sibley, C.G. and Monroe, B.L. 1990. Distribution and Taxonomy of Birds of the World. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Surfbirds. 2013. Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird, Bocas del Atrato, Antioquia April 2013, Trevor Ellery / Ecoturs. Available at: (Accessed: June 2013).

Wege, D. C.; Long, A. J. 1995. Key Areas for threatened birds in the Neotropics. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

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)

Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note, taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Recuento detallado de la especie tomado del libro Aves Amenazadas de las Americas, Libro Rojo de BirdLife International (BirdLife International 1992). Nota: la taxonomoía y la categoría de la Lista Roja de la UICN pudo haber cambiado desde esta publicación.

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

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Butchart, S., Capper, D., Isherwood, I., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A. & Ashpole, J

Salaman, P., Stiles, F., Strewe, R. & de las Casas, J.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Lepidopyga lilliae. Downloaded from on 29/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 29/10/2016.

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.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Sapphire-bellied hummingbird (Lepidopyga lilliae) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Critically Endangered
Family Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
Species name author Stone, 1917
Population size 50-249 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 2,900 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species