Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)


Violet-throated Metaltail (Metallura baroni)


French: Métallure de Baron German: Violettkehl-Glanzschwänzchen Spanish: Metalura de Azuay

Metallura baroni


, 1893,

mountains near Cuenca, 12,000 feet [c. 3660 m], Ecuador


Thought to be closely related to M. williami, M. odomae, M. theresiae, M. eupogon and M. aeneocauda; recently recorded as occurring sympatrically with M. williami atrigularis at R Mazán in Azuay (S Ecuador), although altitudinally segregated, occurring at higher elevations. Formerly considered conspecific with M. eupogon, but differences in coloration support separate species status. Monotypic.


SC Ecuador on both slopes of Cajas Plateau W of Cuenca (Azuay and Cañar)#R.

Descriptive notes

10–11 cm; male 4·3–4·5 g, female 3·9–5 g. Male has medium-sized, straight, black bill; upperparts and underparts uniformly dark ­... read more


Song or chasing call is a descending series of 3–5 squeaky notes, followed by several jumbled ones... read more


Edges of moist elfin forest and Polylepis woods with boulders draped with bromeliads,... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds in hover-flight taking nectar from Durantha, Macleania and other shrubby ericads, from the parasitic Tristerix... read more


Probably nests Nov–Feb. At type locality a nest with one egg was found in Apr; nest had shape of a slipper without heel and was made... read more


No information; presumably sedentary but seasonal altitudinal movements possible. If sighting in O... read more

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. CITES II. Previously listed as Vulnerable. Restricted-range species: present in Central Andean Páramo EBA. Only found in and around Cajas National... read more

Recommended citation

Heindl, M., de Juana, E., Boesman, P., Kirwan, G.M. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Violet-throated Metaltail (Metallura baroni). 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).