Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Blue-backed Conebill (Conirostrum sitticolor)


French: Conirostre à cape bleue German: Blaurücken-Spitzschnabel Spanish: Conirrostro dorsiazul

Conirostrum sitticolor


, 1840,

Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia


Subspecies cyaneum has a longer blue supercilium than that of other races (1) and dark blue vs blackish throat to breast (2), but does not differ in voice#R and intergrades with nominate#R. Four subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. s. pallidum Aveledo & Pérez, 1989 – Sierra de Perijá (Cerro Viruela), in NW Venezuela and in adjacent Colombia#R.
  • C. s. intermedium Berlepsch, 1893 – Andes in Venezuela (Trujillo, Mérida and N Táchira).
  • C. s. sitticolor Lafresnaye, 1840 – Blue-backed Conebill – Andes in Venezuela (S Táchira), and from Colombia S to N Peru (Piura, Cajamarca and Amazonas).
  • C. s. cyaneum Taczanowski, 1875 – Bolivian Conebill – Andes of Peru (from Huánuco) S to Bolivia (La Paz, Cochabamba and W Santa Cruz).
  • Descriptive notes

    13 cm; 9·6–13·7 g (Colombia). Small, high-elevation conebill with dark head and throat, blue back and rich rufous lower underparts; rather narrow, sharply pointed and conical... read more


    Song, mostly at dawn, fast and energetic, a high-pitched, highly complex, bubbly jumble of chipping... read more


    Humid montane forest, forest borders, and stunted elfin woodland up to tree-line. At 2550–3500 m (... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly insectivorous. Occurs in active pairs and in small groups, most often with mixed-species flocks containing other tanagers, small... read more


    In Colombia, fledglings in Nov and Jan (Cundinamarca and Cauca), juveniles/immatures in Feb, Jul, Sept and Oct (Andes) and two breeding-... read more


    Apparently resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Uncommon to fairly common. Can be found in numerous protected areas, among them Sierra Nevada and Tamá National Parks (... read more

    Recommended citation

    Hilty, S. (2020). Blue-backed Conebill (Conirostrum sitticolor). 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 19 February 2020).