Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Cuzco Starfrontlet (Coeligena osculans)


French: Inca du Cuzco German: Cuzco-Andenkolibri Spanish: Inca cuzqueño

Helianthea osculans


, 1871,

Cachupata and Huasampilla, Peru


Probably closely related to C. lutetiae, C. bonapartei, C. eos and C. helianthea. Hitherto considered one of four subspecies of C. violifer, but differs from all others by virtue of the various distinctions listed under those taxa, thus from dichroura separated by its turquoise-blue frons set in velvety-black lores and forecrown vs green front in dull green surround (3), tail similar but with much-reduced tips (2), no white breastline (1) and slightly smaller size (1); from albicaudata by its rufous vs white tail (3), turquoise-blue vs steel-blue frons (2) and mainly greenish vs whitish throat and belly in female (2); from violifer by its glittering vs plain frons (2), smaller throat patch with more extensive glittering green surround on breast (2) and paler rufous belly and tail with darker central rectrices and broader dark tips (3). Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

E Andes of SE Peru (SE of Urubamba).

Descriptive notes

13–14·5 cm; male 5–11 g, female 5–7 g. Previously considered to be conspecific with C. violifer (see Taxonomy comments). Long, straight, black bill (3·8–4·4 cm).... read more


Presumed song a characteristic, repeated, strident rhythmic phrase, “wet-tsee-tser”, alternating... read more


Edges and clearings of cloudforest and elfin forest, sometimes in second growth, at 2000–3700... read more

Food and feeding

Presumably similar to C. violifer, but no specific information.


No data.


Wide altitudinal range and only occasional occurrence below 2800 m suggest some seasonal dispersal... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. CITES II. Overall range has been estimated at 36,300 km². Habitat partially under threat of deforestation and species is suspected to be declining as... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Cuzco Starfrontlet (Coeligena osculans). 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 7 April 2020).