Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Mountain Velvetbreast (Lafresnaya lafresnayi)


French: Colibri de Lafresnaye German: Samtbauchkolibri Spanish: Colibrí aterciopelado

Trochilus La Fresnayi


, 1840,

Bogotá, Colombia


Population from Páramo de Tamá (extreme W Venezuela) often separated as race tamae, but probably better considered synonymous with nominate. Described form Coeligena lawrencei is probably a hybrid between present species and Coeligena torquata. Seven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. l. liriope Bangs, 1910 – Santa Marta Mts, in N Colombia.
  • L. l. greenewalti Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1961 – W Venezuela (S Trujillo, Mérida, NE Táchira).
  • L. l. lafresnayi (Boissonneau, 1840) – Sierra de Perijá, extreme W Venezuela (Páramo de Tamá, in S Táchira) and E Andes of Colombia (Cundinamarca).
  • L. l. longirostris Schuchmann et al., 2003 – C Andes of Colombia (Antioquia S to Tolima).
  • L. l. saul (DeLattre & Bourcier, 1846) – Andes of SW Colombia S through Ecuador and extreme N Peru (E Piura, W Cajamarca).
  • L. l. orestes J. T. Zimmer, 1951 – Andes of N Peru (Amazonas).
  • L. l. rectirostris Berlepsch & Stolzmann, 1902 – E slope in Peru from La Libertad S to Apurímac and Cuzco).
  • Descriptive notes

    11·5–12 cm (including bill of 2·7–3·2 cm); 4·5–6·3 g. Male has long, thin, decurved black bill; upperparts grass-green;... read more


    Calls include a repeated high-pitched “tseee” or “pseeuw”, sometimes followed by a stuttering... read more


    Borders of humid montane forest and shrubby slopes from 1800 m to 3400 m, and locally to 3700 m in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Nectar of flowering Centropogon (e.g. C. ferrugineus), Castilleja, Siphocampylus, Salvia, ... read more


    Apparently during most of the year; Santa Marta, N Colombia, Jan–Mar; C Andes, S Colombia, Jul–Sept; W Colombia, Sept; NE... read more


    Marked seasonal movements to higher altitudes, in sub-páramo and páramo... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. In NW Peru, range recently found to extend as far S as the border between Cajamarca and La Libertad (race saul).... read more

    Recommended citation

    Schuchmann, K.L., Boesman, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Mountain Velvetbreast (Lafresnaya lafresnayi). 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 December 2019).