email a friend
printable version
Colorful Puffleg Eriocnemis mirabilis
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information
BirdLife Species Champion Become a BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme Supporter
BirdLife Species Guardian Fundación ProAves
For information about BirdLife Species Champions and Species Guardians visit the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme.

Although now known from four locations, this species still has an extremely small and decreasing range in which habitat fragmentation is severe owing to small-scale logging and cultivation. It consequently qualifies as Critically Endangered. It is also considered Critically Endangered in Colombia (Renjifo et al. 2002).

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: #

8 cm. Spectacular, multi-coloured hummingbird. Fairly short, black bill. Pink feet. Male has glittering green frontlet and gorget, otherwise dark shining green. Glittering blue belly and glittering red and coppery-gold undertail-coverts. Enormous white leg-puffs fringed cinnamon. Dark, bronzy, forked uppertail, coppery-gold undertail. Female very different. Dark shining green above and sides. White median throat and underparts, spotted green with indistinct glittering reddish, golden, and bluish spots on belly, flanks and undertail. Bronze-green tail tipped blackish. Small white leg-puffs. Similar spp. Female very similar to many small female hummingbirds in range. Best separated by reddish belly spots. Voice Repetitive tsip, tsip, tsip.

Distribution and population
This species was until recently only known from the vicinity of the type-locality, Cerro Charguayaco, north-east of Cerro Munchique on the Pacific slope of the west Andes in Cauca, south-west Colombia. It was known from four specimens (collected in 1967) and two observations (one doubtful), before being rediscovered at the type-locality in 1997. It appears to be uncommon and incredibly localised, and perhaps difficult to detect; despite not being found further than 300 m from the type-locality during extensive searches within a c.3 km radius at various altitudes (Mazariegos and Salaman 1999), it has now been found elsewhere in Munchique National Park (L. Mazariegos in litt. 2007, T. Donegan in litt. 2008) and at Cerro Charguayaco, Munchique (O. Cortes in litt. 2012). It has now also been discovered in the Serrania del Pinche (2,800-3,000 m, with c. 500 ha of suitable habitat), c. 30 km south of the type locality (L. Marzariegos in litt. 2007), and at El Planchón in the Cordillera Occidental, Cauca Department (López-Ordóñez et al. 2008). Males have been observed in April, June-August and November, and females in February-April, July and November (Mazariegos and Salaman 1999, J. Penhallurick in litt. 1999). Other areas of suitable habitat do exist in less accessible areas of the west Andes (Mazariegos and Salaman 1999).

Population justification
After extensive searches this species has now been recorded away from the type locality. However, it has a small occupied range in montane forest fragments that are threatened with clearance and it occurs at low densities at these sites. Therefore a very small population size of 250-999 mature individuals is suspected. This equates to 375-1,499 individuals in total, rounded here to 350-1,500 individuals.

Trend justification
Logging has been a threat to its tiny known range and is thought to have induced past declines in this species. Although trends are poorly known, it is hoped that the creation of a new reserve around its only known locality will safeguard the remaining population.

It prefers undisturbed cloud forest but has been observed in forest edge habitat and clearings. Plants typical of the habitat are Billia colombiana, Clusia, Persea, Hyeronima colombiana, Quercus humboldtii and Weinmannia pubescens (Heynen et al. 2015). Breeding information unknown.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the local economy was based on the fruit crop "lulo", which was grown under the forest canopy, and hence deterred logging. However, a fungal disease and lepidopteran pest destroyed the crop in the 1980s, and logging recommenced. An old mule-track below the type-locality has recently been cleared and widened, and small-scale logging has begun in the immediate vicinity (Mazariegos and Salaman 1999). The Serrania del Pinche and Munchique National Park are threatened by habitat clearance for illegal coca cultivation; fires lit to clear forest at lower elevations spread to higher areas destroying sensitive habitats (L. Mazariegos in litt. 2007, P. Salaman in litt. 2008). Other areas of forest which potentially hold the species are threatened with clearance by slash and burn (L. Mazariegos in litt. 2007).

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. The type-locality is in Munchique National Park, but logging occurs within the park boundaries. The replanting of lulo fruits is being encouraged, with workshops targeting local communities located in impact zones. These are designed to involve communities in conservation efforts and enable technology transfers in integrated pest-management practices (Mazariegos and Salaman 1999). Funding from Swarovski Optik allowed the purchase of 5,000 acres of forest which could potentially hold the species. There are plans to extend the reserve by planting key tree species. The Hummingbird Conservancy is supporting research on the ecology and population dynamics of this species both in Munchique and Serrania del Pinche (L. Mazariegos in litt. 2007).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey other areas of suitable habitat in Cauca. Research its status and annual ecological requirements at the type-locality (Mazariegos and Salaman 1999). Continue to support the establishment and expansion of the newly formed reserve. Designate additional areas of suitable habitat as reserves. Improve the protection of Munchique National Park. Carry out habitat restoration in Munchique National Park.

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.

Heynen, I., Boesman, P. and Sharpe, C.J. 2015. Colorful Puffleg (Eriocnemis mirabilis). 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.

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

López-Ordónez, J. P.; Páez-Ortiz, C. A.; Sandoval-Sierra, J. V.; Salaman, P. 2008. Una segunda localidad para Eriocnemis mirabilis en la Cordillera Occidental de Colombia. Cotinga: 169-171.

Mazariegos, L. A.; Salaman, G. W. 1999. Rediscovery of the Colourful Puffleg Eriocnemis mirabilis. Cotinga 11: 34-38.

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.

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

Species Guardian Action Update

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

Cortés, O., Donegan, T., Mazariegos, L., Ordonez, J., Penhallurick, J. & Salaman, P.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Eriocnemis mirabilis. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

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 - Colourful puffleg (Eriocnemis mirabilis) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Critically Endangered
Family Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
Species name author Meyer de Schauensee, 1967
Population size 250-999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 31 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species