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Campylopterus hemileucurus

Violet Sabrewing

  • Order: Apodiformes
  • Family: Trochilidae
  • Polytypic 2 Subspecies

Authors: Dema L, Tshering

Campylopterus hemileucurus

Costa Rica; 25 April 2003 © Mark Piazzi

The Violet Sabrewing is the largest species of hummingbird in Middle America. It occurs in montane forests from southern Mexico south to western Panama, and also is found at forest edges, in second growth forests, banana plantations, and flower gardens. The elevational range of the Violet Sabrewing in Mexico primarily is 500-2000 m, and 1500-2400 m in Costa Rica, but it frequently descends to lower elevations outside of the breeding season.  In both sexes, the outer tail feathers have broad white tips. Otherwise the plumage of the male is very dark: the head, upper back and underparts are deep violet, and the lower back and rump are dark green. The female is paler green above, and mostly light gray below, with a blue throat. The males are polygynous and are not involved in the parental care. Males display at communal display grounds (leks), where up to 10 males sing from the understory. Females build bulky nests, lined with fine plant fibres and mosses. The nests of the Violet Sabrewings are placed 1-6 m above the streams or rivers on a horizontal branch.

Recommended Citation

Dema L, Tshering. 2011. Violet Sabrewing (Campylopterus hemileucurus), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

This map is based on the maps available from the NatureServe InfoNatura website. The data for these maps are provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE.

  • Migration/Movement:Elevational Migrant
  • Primary Habitat:Montane evergreen forest
  • Foraging Strata:
  • Foraging Behavior:
  • Diet:Nectar
  • Sociality:Solitary
  • Mating System:Polygyny
  • Nest Form:Cup
  • Clutch: 2 - 2
  • IUCN Status:Least Concern