Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Critically Endangered

Blue-bearded Helmetcrest (Oxypogon cyanolaemus)


French: Colibri à barbe bleue German: Blaubart-Helmkolibri Spanish: Colibrí chivito de Santa Marta

Oxypogon cyanolæmus

Salvin and Godman

, 1880,

Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, 10,000–14,000 feet [c. 3050–4265 m], Colombia


Hitherto considered one of four subspecies in O. guerinii, although HBW noted possible treatment as four separate species. Uniquely possesses (narrowly white-bordered) glittering purplish-blue beard (3); dull greenish sheen on crown sides (2); brown-and-whitish mottled underparts (ns[1]); white tail except for dark distal edges and central rectrices (3); relatively short crest (effect size vs next shortest O. guerinii –1.49; score 1); and shorter tail than the others (effect size vs next shortest O. guerinii –2.32; score 2)#R. Monotypic.


Santa Marta Mts, in N Colombia.

Descriptive notes

c. 11·5 cm. Very short-billed hummingbird (c. 0·8 cm), mainly olive-green above, with long, pointed, black-and-white crest and shaggy, white “beard” with purplish-blue... read more


Voice basically unknown, although during the Mar 2015 observations, a flight call broadly... read more


High-altitude páramo grassland at 3000–4800 m.

Food and feeding

Other Oxypogon species feed principally on Espeletia spp.; the only member of the Espeletiinae subtribe in the Santa... read more


No information.


None known.

Status and conservation

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED. CITES II. Endemic to the Santa Marta massif of NE Colombia. Until early Mar 2015, there had been no confirmed records since 1946, despite recent... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Kirwan, G.M., Sharpe, C.J. & Boesman, P. (2020). Blue-bearded Helmetcrest (Oxypogon cyanolaemus). 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 21 February 2020).