BirdLife International (2006) Species factsheet: Coeligena prunellei.

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Black Inca  Coeligena prunellei


2006 IUCN Red List Category (as evaluated by BirdLife International - the official Red List Authority for birds for IUCN): Endangered

Justification This species is Endangered because it has a very small and severely fragmented known range in which habitat loss and degradation are continuing.

Family/Sub-family Trochilidae

Species name author (Bourcier, 1843)

Taxonomic source(s) SACC (2005), Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993), Stotz et al. (1996)

Identification 11 cm. Dark hummingbird with long, needle-like bill. Mainly black with conspicuous white patch on each side of chest and postocular spot. Glittering blue shoulders. Small greenish-blue throat patch. White-edged undertail-coverts. Black and forked tail. Long, slender, straight black bill. Rosy-red legs. Female slightly duller overall. Similar spp. White pectoral patches are unique. Voice Rarely heard ick when feeding.


Population estimate

Population trend

Range estimate (breeding/resident)

Country endemic?



930 km2



Range & population Coeligena prunellei occurs in Colombia on the west slope of the East Andes (Santander, Boyacá, Cundinamarca). A 1976 specimen of this species was incorrectly labelled as having been collected on the south-west slope of Volcán Tolima in the Central Andes of Quindío2. It is locally common at Laguna de Pedropalo (Cundinimarca), Cerro Carare (Boyacá) and El Talisman and Guanentá-Alto Río Fonce Fauna and Flora Sanctuary (Santander)1,6,8.


Important Bird Areas Click here to view map showing IBAs where species is recorded, including sites where the species does not meet any IBA criteria.


Ecology This is principally a species of humid montane forest, especially areas with a predominance of oak Quercus humboldti and Trigonobalanus excelsa. However, birds have also been recorded in open parkland and riverine gallery forest. Most observations have been at 1,675-2,500 m, but it is known between 1,000 and 2,800 m 4,7. Breeding is thought to take place between June and October.


Threats The upper Magdalena valley and the Sagamosa drainage have been undergoing habitat loss, fragmentation and alteration since the 17th century5. The primary causes are human settlement and urbanisation, with associated logging and agricultural land-use including coffee and, to a lesser extent, plantain and sugarcane plantations and pastures5. As a result, tiny remnant forest patches are restricted to steep slopes and along streams5, with the significant exception of Guanentá-Alto Río Fonce6. However, there are still extensive forests that are poorly known to ornithology in the Serranía de las Quinchas, west Boyacá5.


Conservation measures underway CITES Appendix II. It is protected at Guanentá-Alto Río Fonce Fauna and Flora Sanctuary1.


Conservation measures proposed Conduct surveys in relatively inaccessible and well forested parts of the Serranía de las Quinchas5. Study its ecology and breeding behaviour7. Prepare a management plan for the species7. Augment conservation activities in Guanentá-Alto Río Fonce Fauna and Flora Sanctuary3. Protect areas of the favoured habitat holding significant populations3,7.


References Collar et al. (1992). 1. Andrade and Repizzo (1994). 2. A. J. Negret in litt. (1995). 3. P. G. W. Salaman in litt. (1999). 4. Schuchmann (1999). 5. Stiles et al. (1999). 6. Wege and Long (1995). 7. T. Züchner in litt. (1999). 8. Donegan et al. (2003).


Text account compilers Phil Benstead (BirdLife International)

IUCN Red List evaluators Phil Benstead (BirdLife International), David Wege (BirdLife International)