Galbula are medium sized jacamars with rufous and iridescent green plumage; a long, thin bill; and a long, strongly graduated tail. The male Coppery-chested Jacamar is a typical Galbula, with head, throat, breast, and upperparts all green; the crown is bluer, and the uppersurface of the rectrices is bronzy. The belly and the outer rectrices are rufous. The female is similar, but differs from the male (and from all other Galbula) by the rufous chestnut throat. Both sexes have bare orange yellow skin surrounding the eye.
Coppery-chested Jacamar is similar to several other members of the genus Galbula, although other species are confined to the lowlands and so there is little or no overlap with Coppery-chested. The bare yellow skin surrounding the eye. combined with the black bill, is diagnostic; Yellow-billed (Galbula alibrostris) and Blue-cheeked (Galbula cyanicollis) jacamars also have bare yellow eyerings, but have extensive yellow on the bill. The rufous throat of female Coppery-chested Jacamar also is distinctive; this color is much deeper than the buff throat of female Rufous-tailed (Galbula ruficauda) and female Green-tailed (Galbula galbula) jacamars. Male Coppery-chested Jacamar is more similar to White-chinned Jacamar (Galbula tombacea), but Coppery-chested has a bluer, more glittering forecrown, and has little or no white on the chin and upper throat.
The following description is based on Tobias et al. (2002):
Adult male: Crown metallic green, glossed with blue. Rest of upperparts metallic bronzy green. Upper surface of two central pairs of rectrices green; upper surface of remaining rectrices coppery rufous, with a small green apical spot on the outer rectrices. Throat and breast shining green; chin and upper throat often with whitish flecks. Belly, undertail coverts, and underside of rectrices dark rufous.
Adult female: Similar to male, but chin and throat dark rufous.
Information needed. Contribute
Iris: brown; bare orbital skin bright orange yellow or yellowish orange (less prominent in female)
Tarsi and toes: yellow olive, grayish
Bare parts color data from Tobias et al. (2002) and personal observations (T. Schulenberg).
Total length: 23 cm (Hilty and Brown 1986, Schulenberg et al. 2010), 23-24 cm (Tobias et al. 2002), 24 cm (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001b)
wing length (flattened), male: mean 93.3 mm (range 92-94 mm, n = 3; Haffer 1974)
tail length, male: mean 108 mm (range 105-110 mm, n = 3; Haffer 1974)
bill from nostril, male: 44.6 mm (n = 2; Haffer 1974)
Mass: ca 31 g (Tobias et al. 2002); male, 32 g (n = 1; T. Schulenberg, personal observation)