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Scissor-tailed Hummingbird Hylonympha macrocerca
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This species is listed as Endangered because even though it appears to tolerate some habitat degradation, habitat loss and ongoing conversion of forest to agriculture are likely to be causing its already very small range to decline in extent and quality.

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: #

19 cm (includes 10 cm tail). Strikingly long-tailed hummingbird. Male predominantly dark green with glittering violet cap and blackish-green hind crown. Metallic green mantle washed golden. Glittering emerald breast. Rest of underparts darker green becoming blackish on belly. Blackish-purple tail with longer and broader lateral feathers. Female dark green above. Mainly white spotted green below. White centre of breast. Chestnut belly and undertail. Forked tail shorter than in male. Green central rectrices, distally blue, and cinnamon lateral feathers tipped buff. Long, slightly decurved, black bill. Similar spp. Male Venezuelan Sylph Aglaiocercus berlepschi is smaller with short, straight bill.Voice A thin, high metallic chittering.

Distribution and population
Hylonympha macrocerca is endemic to the Paria Peninsula in Sucre, north-east Venezuela, with records from cerros Humo, Patao, El Olvido and Azul. The only post-1980 records are from cerros Humo and El Olvido, but the extent of remaining habitat on cerros Patao and Azul indicates that the species is still present. It remains locally common or even abundant. In 1988, 4-8 birds per hectare were estimated on Cerro El Olvido, suggesting a population of c.1,000 individuals east of Cerro Patao (Bond et al. 1989). In 1993, 1.9 birds per hectare were estimated on Cerro Humo (Evans et al. 1994a), where there are c.15 km2 of intact habitat and additional areas of second growth.

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
This is an understorey species that is likely to be affected by forest degradation, thus it is suspected to be declining at a rate of 1-19% over ten years.

It inhabits lower and upper montane humid forest, where it has been recorded at 800-1,200 m on Cerro Humo, and 530-920 m further east. In primary forest, it feeds mainly at bromeliad flowers and on their insect inhabitants, whereas in secondary forest, feeding is associated with the shrubs Heliconia aurea and Costus sp (Bond et al. 1989). Although it is regularly seen feeding on Heliconia in open areas it may nevertheless be dependent on the availability of pristine forest nearby (Bond et al. 1989). It also hawks insects from exposed perches. There may be seasonal movements (C. J. Sharpe, J-P. Rodríguez and F. Rojas-Suárez in litt. 1999).

Increases in cash-crop agriculture, especially the cultivation of "ocumo blanco" (Xanthosoma sagittifolium) and "ocumo chino" (Colocasia esculenta), since the mid- to late 1980s have resulted in some uncontrolled burning and forest degradation. Cerros Humo and Patao have been worst affected, with the east of the peninsula fairly undisturbed. Since it is an understorey inhabitant, removal of understorey vegetation for coffee and cacao cultivation is likely to lead to reduced population density (C. Sharpe in litt. 2007, D. Ascanio in litt. 2007). It is considered nationally Endangered in Venezuela (Sharpe 2008), and has been recognised as a "high priority" species, amongst the top dozen priorities for bird conservation in Venezuela (Rodríguez et al. 2004, Sharpe 2008).

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. Its entire range is formally protected by the Paria Peninsula National Park (375 km2), but this has not entirely halted habitat degradation. In fact, this national park has always been chronically underfunded, even though it has been the target of some (admittedly rather ineffectual) international protected area strengthening programmes (Sharpe in litt. 2011). It still has no management plan, has insufficient budget, too few staff (three park guards), and inadequate means transport and communications (Sharpe in litt. 2011). The species is used as a symbol of conservation in villages adjacent to the park (Rodríguez and Rojas-Suárez 1995). Conservation Actions Proposed
Improve the protection and management of the national park (Sharpe 2008, Sharpe in litt. 2011). Census populations on cerros Humo, Patao, El Olvido and Azul (Sharpe 2008). Study its ecological requirements (C. J. Sharpe, J-P. Rodríguez and F. Rojas-Suárez in litt. 1999). Initiate programmes to develop economic alternatives to reduce agricultural encroachment in villages adjacent to the national park (Sharpe 2008, Sharpe in litt. 2011).

Bond, R. E.; Convey, P.; Sharpe, C. J.; Varey, A. 1989. Cambridge Columbus zoological expedition to Venezuela 1988. University of Cambridge , Cambridge, UK.

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.

Evans, K.; King, R.; Calvert, N.; Brunton, D.; Jolles, A. 1994. Paria Peninsula `94: Final Report. An Oxford University Ornithological Expedition to Venezuela.

Rodríguez, J. P.; Rojas-Suárez, F. 1995. Libro Rojo de la fauna Venezolana. Provita, Caracas.

Rodríguez, J. P.; Rojas-Suárez, F.; Sharpe, C.J. 2004. Setting priorities for the conservation of Venezuela’s threatened birds. Oryx 38(4): 373–382.

Sharpe, C.J. 2008. Aves. In: Rodríguez, J.P. & Rojas-Suárez, F. (ed.), Libro Rojo de la fauna Venezolana, 3rd edition, pp. 122-157. Provita & Shell Venezuela, S.A.,, Caracas, Venezuela.

Sharpe, C.J. 2008. Colibrí tijereta Hylonympha macrocerca. In: Rodríguez, J.P. and Rojas-Suárez, F. (eds), Libro Rojo de la fauna Venezolana. Tercera Edición, pp. 140. Provita & Shell Venezuela, S.A., Caracas, Venezuela.

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., Capper, D., Isherwood, I., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A.

Ascanio, D., Rodríguez, J., Rojas-Suárez, F., Sharpe, C J, Pérez-Emán, J.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Hylonympha macrocerca. 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 - Scissor-tailed hummingbird (Hylonympha macrocerca) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
Species name author Gould, 1873
Population size 6000-15000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 230 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species