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White-tailed Hummingbird Eupherusa poliocerca
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species has a very small range in which there is a rapid and continuing decline in the extent, area and quality of suitable habitat. The range is so small that it would qualify as Endangered, but it is known from more than five locations and is thus considered Vulnerable.

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.

11 cm. Medium-sized, green hummingbird with distinctive tail pattern. Male largely emerald-green. Mostly black wings with rufous secondaries. White tail with green central rectrices. Female pale grey below with grey ear-coverts and white postocular spot. Less rufous secondaries and outer rectrices edged dusky green. Immature resembles female. Similar spp. Berylline Hummingbird Amazilia beryllina has rufous tail and lacks green belly. Not known to occur sympatrically with Blue-capped Hummingbird E. cyanophrys, in which male has blue crown but females are indistinguishable. Voice Buzzy chip, given in series to become a trill. High, accelerated warbling song.

Distribution and population
Eupherusa poliocerca is fairly common to common (Howell and Webb 1995a, M. Reid in litt. 1998) but extremely local on the Pacific slope of the Sierra Madre del Sur in Guerrero and west Oaxaca, south-west Mexico. Most records in Guerrero are from near Omiltemi and along the Atoyac de Alvarez-Teotepec road (e.g. Navarro 1992), but it has been recorded further west, inland from Zihuatanejo. All undisputed records in Oaxaca are from a stretch of road near Putla de Guerrero in the Sierra Yucuyacua.

Population justification
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 individuals. This equates to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The species's population is suspected to be rapidly declining, in line with the clearance and degradation of montane forest within its range.

It inhabits cloud-forest, evergreen subtropical and semi-humid forest, forest edge and adjacent coffee fincas at elevations of 800-2,440 m (Howell and Webb 1995a). However, it is probably marginal or seasonal at the lower altitudes (below 1,200 m) in the ecotone between tropical semi-deciduous forest and cloud-forest. It feeds on a variety of flowering plants, but is subordinate to other hummingbirds in its range (T. Züchner in litt. 1999). Breeding season peaks are likely to be February-May and September-October.

It tolerates some habitat degradation adjacent to suitable forested habitats, but lower montane forests are being widely cleared for corn, fruit and coffee (Dinerstein et al. 1995), with forests at higher elevations being destroyed by cutting for lumber. Areas near Putla de Guerrero are now heavily deforested and further degraded by goats (Wege and Long 1995).

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It occurs in only one protected area, the Omiltemi State Ecological Park in Guerrero (Wege and Long 1995).Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out surveys to obtain a population estimate and clarify its distribution and the extent of remaining habitat. Designate a protected area in the Sierra de Atoyac (Hernández-Baños et al. 1995) encompassing the range of this species. Protect any remaining habitat near Putla de Guerrero.

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.

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.

Hernández-Baños, B. E.; Peterson, A. T.; Navarro-Sigüenza, A. G.; Escalante-Pliego, B. P. 1995. Bird faunas of the humid montane forests of Mesoamerica: biogeographic patterns and priorities for conservation. Bird Conservation International 5: 251-278.

Howell, S. N. G.; Webb, S. 1995. A guide to the birds of Mexico and northern Central America. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Navarro S, A. G. 1992. Altitudinal distribution of birds in the Sierra Madre del Sur, Guerrero, Mexico. Condor 94: 29-39.

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
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., Capper, D., Isherwood, I., Sharpe, C J, Taylor, J.

Reid, M., Züchner, T.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Eupherusa poliocerca. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016.

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 - White-tailed hummingbird (Eupherusa poliocerca) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
Species name author Elliot, 1871
Population size 6000-15000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 4,000 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species