Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Shining Sunbeam (Aglaeactis cupripennis)


French: Colibri étincelant German: Rostroter Andenkolibri Spanish: Colibrí cobrizo

Trochilus cupripennis


, 1843,



Closely related to A. castelnaudii and perhaps A. aliciae. Morphological variation suggests past gene flow with A. castelnaudii, but nowadays reproductively isolated in the zone of overlap. Occasionally considered to include A. aliciae as a race. Otherwise, up to six races have been accepted, aequatorialis (N & C Ecuador), parvula (S Ecuador, N Peru) and cajabambae and ruficauda (both of NC Peru) replacing one another, but morphometric and plumage characters strongly indicate clinal variation. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. c. cupripennis (Bourcier, 1843) – Northern Shining Sunbeam – all three Andean ranges of Colombia, S through Ecuador and Peru (S to La Libertad and, on E slope, to N Huánuco).
  • A. c. caumatonota Gould, 1848 – Southern Shining Sunbeam – C & SC Peru (S La Libertad to Lima and, on E slope, S Huánuco to Cuzco).
  • Descriptive notes

    12–13 cm; male 7·6–8·1 g, female 6·9–7·5 g. Male has short, straight, black bill; crown and mantle dark brown, lower back to... read more


    Song is a repeated phrase of 3–5 high-pitched chirping notes, “tsip...chew...chew...tseep.....tsip... read more


    Sub-páramo to open páramo with scattered shrubs and trees, upper... read more

    Food and feeding

    Nectar of flowering terrestrial bromeliads, vines and trees, such as Puya, Bomarea, Fuchsia, Centropogon... read more


    All year round. Mar–Sept (Colombia), Feb–Apr (Ecuador), Nov, Apr (Peru). Cup-shaped compact nest of moss and cobweb, sometimes... read more


    Altitudinal migrant in most parts of Colombia, descending seasonally to lower elevations.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. CITES II. Generally fairly common; accepts a wide range of high Andean habitats including farmland with scattered stands of trees. Occurs in several... read more

    Recommended citation

    Schuchmann, K.L. & Boesman, P. (2020). Shining Sunbeam (Aglaeactis cupripennis). 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 25 February 2020).