BirdLife International (2006) Species factsheet: Eriocnemis mirabilis.

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Colourful Puffleg  Eriocnemis mirabilis


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

Justification The only known location for this species is subject to small-scale logging, indicating that its extremely small range and population are declining. It consequently qualifies as Critically Endangered.

Family/Sub-family Trochilidae

Species name author Meyer de Schauensee, 1967

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

Identification 8 cm. Spectacular, multi-coloured hummingbird. Fairly short, black bill. Pink feet. Male has glittering green frontlet and gorget, otherwise dark shining green. Glittering blue belly and glittering red and coppery-gold undertail-coverts. Enormous white leg-puffs fringed cinnamon. Dark, bronzy, forked uppertail, coppery-gold undertail. Female very different. Dark shining green above and sides. White median throat and underparts, spotted green with indistinct glittering reddish, golden, and bluish spots on belly, flanks and undertail. Bronze-green tail tipped blackish. Small white leg-puffs. Similar spp. Female very similar to many small female hummingbirds in range. Best separated by reddish belly spots. Voice Unknown.


Population estimate

Population trend

Range estimate (breeding/resident)

Country endemic?



3 km2



Range & population Eriocnemis mirabilis remains known only from the vicinity of the type-locality, Cerro Charguayaco, north-east of Cerro Munchique on the Pacific slope of the West Andes in Cauca, south-west Colombia. It was known from four specimens (collected in 1967) and two observations (one doubtful), before being rediscovered at the type-locality in 1997. It appears to be uncommon and incredibly localised, being known only within 300 m of the type-locality, despite extensive searches within a c.3 km radius at various altitudes1. Males have been observed in April, June-August and November, and females in February-April, July and November1,2. Other areas of suitable habitat do exist in less accessible areas of the West Andes1.


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 Preliminary studies suggest that it favours the understorey to mid-levels (to c.5 m) of lower montane, wet forest, feeding in the forest interior and edges within an extremely limited altitudinal range of 2,220-2,240 m. It is unclear whether the patchy distribution of both sexes throughout the year is due to seasonal altitudinal movements or the paucity of field studies at the type-locality1.


Threats In the 1960s and 1970s, the local economy was based on the fruit crop "lulo", which was grown under the forest canopy, and hence deterred logging. However, a fungal disease and lepidopteran pest destroyed the crop in the 1980s, and logging recommenced. An old mule-track below the type-locality has recently been cleared and widened, and small-scale logging has begun in the immediate vicinity1.


Conservation measures underway CITES Appendix II. The type-locality is in Munchique National Park, but logging occurs within the park boundaries. The replanting of lulo fruits is being encouraged, with workshops targeting local communities located in impact zones. These are designed to involve communities in conservation efforts and enable technology transfers in integrated pest-management practices1.


Conservation measures proposed Survey other areas of suitable habitat in Cauca. Research its status and annual ecological requirements at the type-locality1.


References Collar et al. (1992). 1. Mazariegos and Salaman (1999). 2. J. Penhallurick in litt. (1999).


Text account compilers Phil Benstead (BirdLife International)

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