Campylopterus ensipennis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Caprimulgiformes Trochilidae

Scientific Name: Campylopterus ensipennis (Swainson, 1822)
Common Name(s):
English White-tailed Sabrewing
Spanish Ala de Sable Verde, Colibrí Coliblanco
Taxonomic Source(s): SACC. 2005 and updates. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #
Identification information: 13 cm. Large predominantly green hummingbird with distinctive white outer-tail feathers. Male glittering green, with white post-ocular spot, blue and iridescent dark violet throat. Bronze tail with white distal two-thirds of three outer rectrices. Female similar with grey underparts with green markings on flanks. Similar spp. Only large sympatric hummingbird with white in tail. Voice Repeated chirp. Hints Feeds predominantly on bromeliads in lower to middle strata and frequents second growth and tree fall gaps.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Hayes, F., Rojas-Suárez, F. & Sharpe, C J
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Capper, D., Mahood, S., Sharpe, C J, Wege, D. & Wheatley, H.
This species has a small range in which habitat degradation is likely to be causing the population to decline (Collar et al. 1992). However, it is not yet severely fragmented or restricted to few locations. Therefore the species is classified as Near Threatened.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Campylopterus ensipennis is restricted to the Turimiquire Massif (at 760-1,830 m) and Paria Peninsula (at 400-1,200 m) in north-east Venezuela, and the Main Ridge down to 100 m on Tobago (Trinidad and Tobago) (Hayes 1996, F. E. Hayes in litt. 1998, 1999). In Venezuela, it is relatively common in shade coffee plantations on Cerro Negro (Boesman and Curson 1995, Colvee 1999, C. J. Sharpe in litt. 2016) and other parts of the Cordillera de Caripe, as well as in the Serranía del Turimiquire. On the Paria peninsula it is also common (C. J. Sharpe in litt. 2011, 2016), with 1.5 pairs/ha estimated on Cerro El Olvido in 1988 (Bond et al. 1989) and 0.2 males/ha recorded in primary forest and 4.5 males/ha in shade coffee plantations on Cerro Humo in 1993 (Evans et al. 1994a). On Tobago, it is recovering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Flora in 1963, but remains absent from the south-west (Hillsborough Reservoir) and north-east (Pigeon Peak) portions of its former range (F. E. Hayes in litt. 1998, 1999). Recent surveys suggest that there are between several hundred and in excess of 1,000 individuals on Tobago (Hayes 1996).

Countries occurrence:
Trinidad and Tobago; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:13400
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:NoLower elevation limit (metres):400
Upper elevation limit (metres):1830
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as 'fairly common' (Stotz et al. (1996).

Trend Justification:  There are no new data on population trends; however, the species is suspected to be declining slowly, as a result of habitat degradation.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:UnknownContinuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It inhabits mature montane forest, edges of clearings, shade coffee and abandoned plantations and regenerating forest less than 15 m tall. On Tobago males lek all year round but there is a pronounced breeding season during February to April (Hayes et al. 2000).

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):4.2
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): In its Venezuelan range (except the extreme east of Paria Peninsula), there is clearance for agriculture and pasture, repeated burning and understorey removal for coffee (Boesman and Curson 1995), including within national parks (C. J. Sharpe in litt. 2016). Some localised areas of the Paria Peninsula National Park have been deforested to make way for telecommunications and transport infrastructure (C. J. Sharpe in litt. 2016). A proposed cryogenics plant and pipeline on the Paria Peninsula is not currently judged economically viable but remains a potential threat (C. J. Sharpe, J-P. Rodríguez and F. Rojas-Suárez in litt. 1999). Natural disasters, such as the hurricane which destroyed most forest on Tobago in 1963, have resulted in significant population declines.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. In Venezuela, it is formally protected by Paria Peninsula and El Guácharo National Parks (recently expanded to include a further 500 km2 of largely undisturbed forest [F. E. Hayes in litt. 1998, 1999]) and, in Tobago, occurs within the proposed Main Ridge National Park. On Tobago, it is the subject of a conservation/education initiative by the Tobago Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and RARE Center. It has been the subject of a long-term (Caribbean Union College and University of the West Indies) ecological study (Hayes et al. 2000).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Ensure protection of the national parks where it occurs. Designate a protected area around the mountain known as Quiriquire or Piedra 'e Mole' to protect the largest remaining forest block in the Serranía del Turimiquire (C. J. Sharpe in litt. 2016). Continue the conservation and education initiative on Tobago and consider a similar scheme in Venezuela. Act on the results of the long-term study.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Campylopterus ensipennis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22687078A93138223. . Downloaded on 23 June 2018.
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