Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Black Metaltail (Metallura phoebe)


French: Métallure phébé German: Schwarzbauch-Glanzschwänzchen Spanish: Metalura negra

Ornismya phoebe

Lesson and DeLattre

, 1839,

Andes of Peru


Differences in body size and plumage colours have been detected between populations in N Peru and C Peru, but specimens from linking areas require study before division into two races can be considered. Treated as monotypic.


Andes of Peru: Pacific slope from S Cajamarca to Tacna; in N Peru E of R Marañón, with single record from W (Jalca de Soquian); and also in C Peru (intermontane valleys in Huánuco, Pasco, Junín). Possibly extends into extreme N Chile (recent records from very close to border in Peru)#R; two old specimens supposedly from Bolivia.

Descriptive notes

13–14 cm; 5·6–5·9 g. Larger and much darker than other Metallura. Male has medium-sized, straight, black bill; body black with rosy-grey... read more


Presumed song a repeated high-pitched single note “tsee.....tsee.....tsee...” (c. 6.5 kHz, at rate... read more


Semi-arid open montane scrub and woodland, such as Polylepis, vegetated canyons, and bushy... read more

Food and feeding

Observed feeding in hover-flight (occasionally when perched) on nectar from a variety of bushes including Mutisia and... read more


Eggs laid probably Jul–Dec and Jan. The nest is a pendent mass of moss suspended in roots or from a thin branch overhanging a stream... read more


No information, but presumably sedentary; possibility of seasonal altitudinal movements.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. CITES II. Because pressure of human population is very intense at altitudes of 3250–3800 m on Pacific slope of Peru, only tiny vestiges of... read more

Recommended citation

Heindl, M., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Black Metaltail (Metallura phoebe). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 17 January 2020).