Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Golden-tailed Sapphire (Chrysuronia oenone)


French: Saphir oenone German: Bronzeschwanz-Saphirkolibri Spanish: Zafiro colidorado

Ornismya œnone


, 1832,

Trinidad; probably error = north-east Venezuela


Proposed type locality of Trinidad seems unlikely, as there are apparently no definite records with specific localities, and the species has not been mentioned in any work on Trinidad birds since 1900. Race josephinae relatively distinctive, owing to male’s green not blue throat (score 3), and less rich emerald-green mantle to rump (1); but no other characters distinguishing it are known; more study needed. Race alleni and proposed race peruviana may not be adequately separable from josephinae. Several other races proposed: longirostris from E Colombia differs from nominate only in average bill length; azurea, supposedly from W Ecuador but no definite records thence (in fact, probably from E Ecuador), has characters of a subadult male of oenone; and intermedia of upper Amazonia probably of hybrid origin. Described form Thalurania lerchi, known from Bogotá trade skins, is apparently a hybrid between present species and Thalurania furcata. Three subspecies currently recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. o. oenone (Lesson, 1832) – Northern Golden-tailed Sapphire – Sierra de Perijá, and N & W Venezuela S through EC Colombia to E Ecuador, extreme NE Peru (N Amazonas, NW Loreto) and adjacent extreme W Brazil.
  • C. o. josephinae (Bourcier & Mulsant, 1848) – Southern Golden-tailed Sapphire – most of E Peru.
  • C. o. alleni (Elliot, 1888) – N Bolivia.
  • Descriptive notes

    9·5–10 cm; male 4·7–6·3 g, female 4·3–5·3 g. Maxilla black, mandible red with black tip. Male has entire head and throat... read more


    Quite vocal. Song rather variable, a repeated rhythmic phrase, often starting with a burry note,... read more


    Humid forest, especially at gaps and along edges, old second growth, gallery forest, semi-open... read more

    Food and feeding

    Visits mostly flowering trees (Erythrina, Inga) and shrubs (Aphelandra, Palicourea) for nectar; many... read more


    Birds in breeding condition Jun–Nov in E Colombia, but season stated to be Jan–Apr in W Brazil. During breeding season males... read more


    Little information available; movements across Portachuelo Pass reported at Rancho Grande,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Fairly common, at least locally, in foothill areas of Colombia and Venezuela, but relatively rare in Amazonian lowlands far... read more

    Recommended citation

    Stiles, F.G. & Boesman, P. (2020). Golden-tailed Sapphire (Chrysuronia oenone). 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 29 February 2020).