Wedge-tailed Sabrewing Campylopterus curvipennis

  • Order: Caprimulgiformes
  • Family: Trochilidae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors: Marîa del Coro Arizmendi, Claudia I. Rodríguez-Flores, Carlos A. Soberanes-González, and Thomas S. Schulenberg

Sounds and Vocal Behavior


Wedge-tailed Sabrewing has a very complex vocal repertoire.. The song is "a loud, prolonged, gurgling warble interspersed with squeaky chipping" (Howell and Webb 1995); the song often begins with "hesitant, nasal, reedy, insect-like chippering" which may be continued for several minutes before the full song commences (Howell and Webb 1995).

For a representative audio recording with sonogram, see audio

The song is very complex, rivaling the songs of passerines in complexity (González and Ornelas 2005). Individual males may incorporate more than 45 syllables into their songs, and well over 200 syllable types have been documented for the species (González and Ornelas 2005). The song is long series of notes (total length of 8 to 9) of high frequency (above 7 kHz), and the notes are given very rapidly (5+ syllables per s) (González and Ornelas 2005). This song has been described as the most complex of all the known to hummingbirds, even comparable with calls of the songbirds.

Other vocalizations of Wedge-tailed Sabrewing include "a steady sharp chipping, chip chip chip chip-ip' chip ..." and "a nasal peek, often given in flight" (Howell and Webb 1995).

Additional audio recordings of vocalizations of Wedge-tailed Sabrewing can be heard at Macaulay Library and at xeno-canto.

Nonvocal Sounds

None reported, other than the usual "whirring" sound of the wings in flight, audible (as in most hummingbirds) at close range.

Recommended Citation

Arizmendi, M. d. C., C. I. Rodríguez-Flores, C. A. Soberanes-González, and T. S. Schulenberg (2012). Wedge-tailed Sabrewing (Campylopterus curvipennis), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.