Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Booted Racket-tail (Ocreatus underwoodii)


French: Haut-de-chausses à palettes German: Grünscheitel-Flaggensylphe Spanish: Colibrí de raquetas
Other common names: Racquet-tailed Puffleg

Ornismya underwoodii


, 1832,

Brazil; error = Bogotá, Colombia


Rufous-booted races addae, annae and peruanus sometimes considered to constitute one to three separate species; where representatives of the two groups meet in Ecuador (white-booted melanantherus on W slope, rufous-booted peruanus on E slope) females are at their most distinctive (melanantherus nearly immaculate white with only a few small green spots, peruanus thickly spangled with green discs), but elsewhere can be almost indistinguishable, so study of vocalizations and other behaviour potentially helpful. Race discifer sometimes synonymized with nominate. Proposed race ambiguus (S Colombia) is synonymous with incommodus. Eight subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • O. u. polystictus Todd, 1942 – coastal mountains of N Venezuela (Carabobo to Miranda).
  • O. u. discifer (Heine, 1863) – NW Venezuela (Zulia and Falcón to Táchira and W Barinas) and N Colombia (Norte de Santander).
  • O. u. underwoodii (Lesson, 1832) – White-booted Racket-tail – E Andes of Colombia.
  • O. u. incommodus (O. Kleinschmidt, 1943) – W & C Andes of Colombia.
  • O. u. melanantherus (Jardine, 1851) – W slope from SW Colombia (Nariño) to SW Ecuador.
  • O. u. peruanus (Gould, 1849) – E Ecuador and NE Peru (S to Huánuco).
  • O. u. annae (Berlepsch & Stolzmann, 1894) – E slope in C & S Peru (Pasco to Cuzco).
  • O. u. addae (Bourcier, 1846) – Rufous-booted Racket-tail – E slope in Bolivia (Yungas of La Paz to Santa Cruz and Chuquisaca).
  • Descriptive notes

    Male 11–15 cm, (including elongated tail feathers), 2·5–2·7 g, female 7·6–9 cm; 2·6–3·2 g. Male has short, straight... read more


    Most common vocalisation, given by both male and female, is a diagnostic, descending, thin sweet... read more


    Wet forest zone of subtropical and temperate Andean regions. Within forest as well as in open... read more

    Food and feeding

    Nectar of flowering Palicourea, Clusia, Inga, Cavendishia and bromeliads. Insects are caught in the air... read more


    Probably throughout the year; Jan–Apr in SW Colombia. Tiny cup-shaped nest of buffy plant fibre and lichen is placed on horizontal... read more


    Seasonal altitudinal migration after breeding.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. A very common species in montane forest. Protected by several national parks and nature reserves throughout range, e.g. La... read more

    Recommended citation

    Schuchmann, K.L. & Boesman, P. (2019). Booted Racket-tail (Ocreatus underwoodii). 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 6 December 2019).