Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Scaly-breasted Sabrewing (Campylopterus cuvierii)


French: Campyloptère de Cuvier German: Schuppenbrustkolibri Spanish: Colibrí de Cuvier
Other common names: Scaly-breasted Hummingbird, Robert's Hummingbird (roberti)

Trochilus Cuvierii

DeLattre and Bourcier

, 1846,

east-central Panama


Traditionally segregated in genus Phaeochroa, but thickened, flattened shaft of outer primary of adult male similar to that of other Campylopterus, and coloration, behaviour and vocalizations of some of the dull-coloured, sexually monochromatic Campylopterus species also resemble those of present species. Race roberti sometimes given species status on basis of differences in bill and rectrix colour, but hardly distinctive. Six subspecies normally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. roberti (Salvin, 1861) – extreme SE Mexico (NE Chiapas), N Guatemala and Belize S on Caribbean slope to NE Costa Rica.
  • C. c. maculicauda (Griscom, 1932) – Pacific slope of Costa Rica.
  • C. c. furvescens (Wetmore, 1967) – Pacific slope of W Panama.
  • C. c. saturatior (E. J. O. Hartert, 1901) – Coiba I, off SW Panama.
  • C. c. cuvierii (DeLattre & Bourcier, 1846) – C Panama (E to WC San Blas).
  • C. c. berlepschi (Hellmayr, 1915) – N Colombia (N Atlántico, NW Bolívar).
  • Descriptive notes

    11·5–13 cm; male 10·1 g and female 8·6 g in maculicauda, male 9·3 g and female 7·9 g in nominate cuvierii. Mostly... read more


    Song a loud, variable, continuous warble comprising phrases of 4–8 notes. Each phrase a mix of... read more


    Dry forest, edges and clearings of gallery forest and humid forest, mangrove, second growth and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Visits flowers of trees (Genipa, Hibiscus, Pelliciera, Inga, Erythrina), shrubs, terrestrial... read more


    Mainly during rainy season, May–Dec (Guatemala), May–Jan (Costa Rica). Nest a well-built cup of plant down and spiderweb,... read more


    Basically sedentary, but with more or less pronounced local movements in response to changes in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. CITES II. Uncommon to locally common in most areas. Probably benefits from forest clearance in most areas, though some mangrove populations may be... read more

    Recommended citation

    Stiles, F.G. & Boesman, P. (2020). Scaly-breasted Sabrewing (Campylopterus cuvierii). 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 22 January 2020).