Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Least Concern

Sword-billed Hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera)


French: Colibri porte-épée German: Schwertschnabelkolibri Spanish: Colibrí picoespada

Ornismya ensifera


, 1840,

Bogotá, Colombia


Proposed race caerulescens, known from a single specimen of unknown origin, is apparently not valid, as morphological differences most likely aberrant and may even relate to a damaged skin. Monotypic.


Andes from W Venezuela through Colombia, Ecuador and Peru to NC Bolivia (W Santa Cruz).

Descriptive notes

17–22·8 cm (including bill of 9–11 cm); 10–15 g. Male has shorter bill but longer wings, and longer and more deeply forked tail than female. Longest... read more


A low, slightly trilled “trrr” is occasionally heard.


Humid to semi-humid upper montane forest and forest edges, sometimes at patches of shrubs in p... read more

Food and feeding

Flowers visited for nectar typically (but not exclusively) have long pendent corollas, and include Aethanthus, Brugmansia... read more


No reliable information. One unconfirmed observation of a female defending a possible nesting site high up in a tree in Apr (Ecuador);... read more


Sedentary. In Colombia, seasonally above 3000 m (Jul–Sept, C Cordillera, Colombia) and same... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Common locally. In Oyacachi (Bolivia) this hummingbird has been selected as a target species for ecotourism to attract... read more

Recommended citation

Züchner, T. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Sword-billed Hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera). 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 26 January 2020).