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Peruvian Sheartail is resident in arid and semi-arid coastal Peru. Reported as far north as Piura and Lambayeque (Schulenberg and Parker 1981), and in arid, sparse vegetation on the road from Otuzco to Trujillo (La Libertad) by Baron (1897). A single report from Loja, Ecuador is apparently extralimital (an individual visiting flowers in montane scrub, along with Purple-collared Woodstar (Myrtis fanny); (Ridgely and Greenfield 2003). South to Chile, where it has recently arrived and is expanding its range.
The elevational range of Peruvian Sheartail is from sea level up to at least 2800 m (Schulenberg et al. 2010). Clements and Shany (2001) suggest it reaches 3350 m, but it appears to be most common near sea level (Schuchmann 1999).
Distribution outside the Americas
Not present outside the Americas.
Peruvian Sheartail readily uses farmland and gardens (González and Málaga 1997), but always is found in arid areas with sparse or scrubby vegetation, e.g. "barren hills with only a few small flowers" (Baron 1897). In the Azapa and Vitor Valleys, Chile, it is found in orchards, gardens, thickets, yards, and areas of sparse vegetation.
Historically Peruvian Sheartail was known south only to Tacna (Peru), but it has expanded its range south over the past 40 years, and the range appears still to be expanding. It first was reported in Chile in 1971 (Johnson 1972), with the observation of single individual in Azapa. The population in the Azapa Valley has grown and is presently in the thousands. As of 2010, the furthest south that Peruvian Sheartail has reached is a small population in the Vitor, Codpa, and Camarones valleys (Estades and Aguirre 2010).
Clark, C. J. (2013). Peruvian Sheartail (Thaumastura cora), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.pershe2.01