Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)


Purple-backed Sunbeam (Aglaeactis aliciae)


French: Colibri d’Alice German: Weißbrust-Andenkolibri Spanish: Colibrí de Alicia

Aglæactis aliciæ


, 1896,

Succha, 10,000 feet [c. 3000 m], La Libertad, north Peru


May belong with A. cupripennis and A. castelnaudii. Sometimes lumped with A. cupripennis, as immatures have buff-spotted throat turning pure white after first moult; otherwise, resembles A. c. caumatonota. Monotypic.


N Peru: small area of E slope of Andes at upper Marañón drainage, in La Libertad. Recorded in 2014 in neighbouring N Ancash#R.

Descriptive notes

12–13 cm; 7·3–8·3 g. Male has short, straight, black bill; head and mantle earth brown, lower back and rump iridescent amethyst becoming golden-... read more


Very similar to A. cupripennis. Presumed song a repeated phrase of 3–5 high-pitched... read more


Semi-open Andean slopes, usually with Alnus acuminata trees and / or Oreocallis... read more

Food and feeding

Nectar of Oreocallis grandiflora bushes, flowering mistletoe Tristerix longebrachteatum (hemiparasitic on Alnus... read more


Few data available. Season unclear; female on nest recorded in May; males with slightly enlarged testes recorded in Jun; juveniles... read more



Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. CITES II. Restricted-range species: present in Marañón Valley EBA. Until recently, known from c. 20 localities in La Libertad province, within a... read more

Recommended citation

Schuchmann, K.L., Boesman, P. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Purple-backed Sunbeam (Aglaeactis aliciae). 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 17 February 2020).