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Venezuelan Sylph Aglaiocercus berlepschi
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This species has a very small known range, within which suitable habitat is thought to be severely fragmented. For these reasons it is currently classified as Endangered. However, if further evidence reveals it has a larger range or that habitat fragmentation is not a serious concern then it may warrant downlisting.

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: #

Taxonomic note
Aglaiocercus kingi (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) has been split into A. kingi and A. berlepschi following SACC (2005).

Male 22 cm (including outer tail feathers 14-15 cm); female 9.5-11 cm. Male has a short black bill, upperparts shining green with darker glittering green crown; underparts bronzy green with a bright blue gorget; outer tail feathers extremely long and broad, basally deep violet, distally blue. Central tail feathers shorter and blue-green. Female shining green above with blue crown; throat, breast and belly white, green flanks and shorter green, slightly forked tail. Similar spp Very similar to Long-tailed Sylph Aglaiocercus kingi. Subspecies kingi and margarethae have some blue on the crown and green tips to the tail feathers in males, while females are cinnamon below. Ssp caudatus has a blue tail and lacks blue on the throat of males.

Distribution and population
Aglaiocercus berlepschi occupies a restricted range in north-east Venezuela in the Turimiquire Massif  (both in the Serranía de Turimiquire the west of the San Antonio valley and the Cordillera de Caripe to the east) on the borders of Sucre, Anzoategui and Monagas. It was formerly common in parts of its range (Hilty 2003, Sharpe and Lentino 2008) is locally fairly common in places (P. Boesman in litt. 2006, Sharpe and Lentino 2008, C. J. Sharpe in litt. 2011). Extent of Occurrence has been estimated at 3,000 km2 (Sharpe and Lentino 2008) and 4,200 km2 (BirdLife International).

Population justification
This species is locally fairly common in suitable habitat, and considered less vulnerable than others (such as Grey-headed Warbler Basileuterus griseiceps) to removal of undergrowth for coffee plantations (Boesman in litt. 2006). Its population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 individuals, equating to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, which is rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
A moderately rapid and ongoing population decline is suspected on the basis of rates of habitat destruction and fragmentation (Sharpe and Lentino 2008), although there are no analyses to support this (J. Pérez-Emán in litt. 2012).

It lives in humid to wet subtropical montane forest, borders and second growth from 1,450 m to 1,800 m (Hilty 2003, Sharpe and Lentino 2008). The species is thought to be less susceptible to removal of undergrowth from forest for coffee growing than other species (P. Boesman in litt. 2006).However, its specific habitat requirements are almost unknown (J. Pérez-Emán in litt. 2012).

There has been widespread clearance for agriculture and pasture in the Cordillera de Caripe, resulting in extensive degradation of forest. Clearance, repeated burning and understorey removal for coffee (Boesman and Curson 1995) are the main causes. The slopes of Cerro Negro are largely bare, with the more obvious forest patches actually shade-coffee plantations (Boesman and Curson 1995). There is conversion to coffee, mango, banana and citrus plantations in many parts of the region (Colvee 1999), but extensive forest areas remain (Colvee 1999, Sharpe in litt. 2011). Increases in cash-crop agriculture, especially the cultivation of "ocumo blanco" (Xanthosoma sagittifolium), since the mid- to late 1980s, have resulted in uncontrolled burning and forest degradation (C. J. Sharpe in litt. 2003). Similar threats are present in the Macizo Montañoso del Turimiquire (J. Pérez-Emán in litt. 2012). It is considered nationally Endangered in Venezuela (Sharpe 2008).

Conservation Actions Underway

Conservation Actions Proposed

Determine whether the species occurs on the Peninsula de Paria. Conserve remaining habitat within its restricted range. Research trends, population size and threats.

Boesman, P.; Curson, J. 1995. Grey-headed Warbler Basileuterus griseiceps in danger of extinction? Cotinga: 35-39.

Colvee, J. N. 1999. Observaciones preliminares sobre el estado actual del hábitat de cuatro especies de aves en la Serranía de Turimiquire, Edos. Monagas, Anzoátegui y Sucre de Venezuela.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1999. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 5: Barn-owls to Hummingbirds. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

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.; Lentino, M. 2008. Colibrí coludo de Caripe Aglaiocercus berlepschi. In: Rodríguez, J.P. and Rojas-Surez, F. (eds), Libro Rojo de la fauna Venezolana. Tercera Edición, pp. 139. 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)

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Bird, J., Butchart, S., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A.

Boesman, P., Sharpe, C J, Pérez-Emán, J.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Aglaiocercus berlepschi. 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 - Venezuelan sylph (Aglaiocercus berlepschi) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
Species name author (E. Hartert, 1898)
Population size 1500-7000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 4,200 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species