Campylopterus ensipennis


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Campylopterus ensipennis
Species Authority: (Swainson, 1822)
Common Name(s):
English White-tailed Sabrewing
Spanish Ala de Sable Verde, Colibrí Coliblanco

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
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.
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.

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) and other parts of the Cordillera de Caripe. On the Paria peninsula it is also common (Sharpe in litt. 2011), with 1.5 pairs/ha were estimated on Cerro El Olvido in 1988 (Bond et al. 1989) and 0.2 males/ha were 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).

Trinidad and Tobago; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
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).
Population Trend: Decreasing

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).

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): In its Venezuelan range (except the east Paria Peninsula), there is clearance for agriculture and pasture, repeated burning and understorey removal for coffee (Boesman and Curson 1995). A proposed cryogenics plant and pipeline on the Paria peninsula is not yet 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. 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 2012. Campylopterus ensipennis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 03 September 2015.
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