Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Sapphire-spangled Emerald (Amazilia lactea)


French: Ariane saphirine German: Saphiramazilie Spanish: Amazilia zafirina

Ornismya lactea


, 1832,

the Guianas and Brazil


Sometimes placed in genus Polyerata or Agyrtria, or, alternatively, in Hylocharis. Closely related to A. fimbriata. Hitherto included A. bartletti as a subspecies. Geographically remote race zimmeri has been tentatively suggested as sufficiently distinctive to merit being split as a species, differing from nominate in its slightly longer wings and tail (effect size 1.62) (1); violet-blue throat patch extending down only to upper breast vs extending to upper belly (3); undertail-coverts white with grey streak around shaft vs white (1); female whiter below on throat patch and belly (1); thus, only a minor difference in voice would take it to species status. Two subspecies currently recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. l. zimmeri (Gilliard, 1941) – Tepui Emerald – SE Venezuela (C & S Bolívar).
  • A. l. lactea (Lesson, 1832) – Sapphire-spangled Emerald – E Brazil from C Bahia to Paraná.
  • Descriptive notes

    8–11 cm; male 4–5 g, female 3·6 g. Male has straight, medium-sized bill, maxilla blackish, mandible pinkish to horn-coloured with greyish or blackish tip;... read more


    Song of A. l. lactea is a repeated buzzy phrase, “tzee … tzitzitzee … tzitzitzee …... read more


    Inhabits edges of rainforest, gallery forest, second growth, river borders and clearings;... read more

    Food and feeding

    Forages for nectar at a great variety of native and introduced plants; some preferred plant families are Leguminosaceae, Malvaceae,... read more


    Southern populations breed Oct–Jan at least; season of Venezuelan birds unknown. Nest cup-shaped, built of plant down, cobweb,... read more


    Southern populations are short-distance migrants, with occasional records in the Brazilian states... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. CITES II. Common to very common in western and eastern parts of range notably in Brazil, where occurs in several protected areas, e.g. Serra dos Org... read more

    Recommended citation

    Weller, A.A., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Sapphire-spangled Emerald (Amazilia lactea). 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).