Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Scaled Metaltail (Metallura aeneocauda)


French: Métallure à queue d’airain German: Schuppenbauch-Glanzschwänzchen Spanish: Metalura escamosa

Trochilus (——?) æneocauda


, 1846,



Thought to be closely related to M. williami, M. baroni, M. odomae, M. theresiae and M. eupogon. Race malagae formerly considered a distinct species, but, in context of typical infraspecific variation within present genus, morphological differences justify only subspecific separation; research into vocalizations and other behaviour, however, desirable. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. a. aeneocauda (Gould, 1846) – Brassy Metaltail – E Andean slopes from SE Peru (Cordillera Vilcabamba) to NW Bolivia (Yungas of La Paz).
  • M. a. malagae Berlepsch, 1897 – Reddish Metaltail – Incachaca (in Yungas of Cochabamba), in C Bolivia.
  • Descriptive notes

    12–13 cm; 5·2–5·4 g. Male has medium-sized, straight, black bill; upper­parts bottle-green, underparts appear scaly due to tan feather margins;... read more


    Chase call is almost identical to M. theresiae and M. eupogon: a descending... read more


    Bushy glades in cloudforest and at treeline, and sometimes on humid rocky slopes with herbs, low... read more

    Food and feeding

    Nectar of Berberis, Brachyotum, Centropogon, Gentiana, Ribes and other flowers with 2–4... read more


    Specimens with enlarged gonads found in May and Jun. Clutch two white eggs; incubation by female. No further information.


    No information; but presumably sedentary. Individuals sometimes disperse high up into the p... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. CITES II. Restricted-range species: present in Bolivian and Peruvian Upper Yungas EBA. Fairly common locally. Species not at risk at present, due to... read more

    Recommended citation

    Heindl, M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Scaled Metaltail (Metallura aeneocauda). 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 27 January 2020).