Family Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

Near Threatened

White-tailed Sabrewing (Campylopterus ensipennis)


French: Campyloptère à queue blanche German: Weißschwanz-Degenflügel Spanish: Colibrí coliblanco

Trochilus ensipennis


, 1822,

no locality given




NE Venezuela (Cordillera de Caripe and mountains of Paria Peninsula); Tobago. Occurrence in Trinidad questionable; at present no definite records, and specimens collected in 1860 labelled “Trinidad” (without exact locality data) may represent trade skins obtained on the island.

Descriptive notes

c. 12–13 cm; male 9·5–10·5 g, female presumably lighter. Prominent white patches in tail unique among hummingbirds in range, but not always visible... read more


Song is a persistently given, comparatively loud and slightly bisyllabic “tzchink”, uttered at a... read more


Montane forest, old second growth, treefall gaps, and plantations (especially coffee), at 400... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds on nectar of flowering bromeliads, Heliconia, Palicourea and banana (Musa), but also visits flowers of... read more


Seven nests found on Tobago in Feb–Apr (the local dry season), with earliest nest commenced in late Jan but first eggs in mid-Feb;... read more


No information. Some altitudinal dispersal seems likely, e.g. on Tobago, where all low-altitude... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently regarded as Near Threatened, but was until 2000 treated as Vulnerable. CITES II. Restricted-range species: present in Caripe-Paria Region... read more

Recommended citation

Züchner, T., Kirwan, G.M. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). White-tailed Sabrewing (Campylopterus ensipennis). 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 9 April 2020).