Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Great Sapphirewing (Pterophanes cyanopterus)


French: Colibri à ailes saphir German: Blauflügelkolibri Spanish: Colibrí aliazul

Trochilus cyanopterus


, 1840,

Bogotá, Colombia


Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. c. cyanopterus (Fraser, 1840) – E Andes of N Colombia (Norte de Santander, Cundinamarca).
  • P. c. caeruleus J. T. Zimmer, 1951 – C & W Andes of Colombia (Tolima S to Nariño).
  • P. c. peruvianus Boucard, 1895 – W Andes of Colombia#R, Ecuador, Peru and NC Bolivia (Cochabamba).
  • Descriptive notes

    Male 19–20 cm, female 16–17 cm; male 9·6–11·2 g, female 9·1–11 g. Bill straight, medium-sized, black. Male dark shining bluish-... read more


    A liquid twittering heard during aerial chases, and a drier thin chatter while hovering and feeding. read more


    Inhabits humid and not too dense cloudforest and stunted forest borders, elfin woodland, and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Takes nectar from flowers at low to moderate heights on the outside of thickets and bushes, either hovering or perching to feed, sometimes... read more


    Breeding has been recorded for Feb (Colombia) and May (Ecuador). Cup-shaped nest is suspended from roots or ferns, usually situated below... read more


    Mainly sedentary; altitudinal movements to open páramo after reproduction.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. CITES II. Locally fairly common. Less abundant in dry Andean valleys in Ecuador. Present in Las Cajas National Recreation Area, Ecuador.

    Recommended citation

    Heynen, I., Boesman, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Great Sapphirewing (Pterophanes cyanopterus). 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 28 January 2020).