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Sapphire-vented Puffleg - BirdForum Opus

Includes Coppery-naped Puffleg

Eriocnemis luciani
Photo © by steveblain
Yanacocha, Ecuador, August 2004.


12 cm - a relatively large puffleg

  • minor to no sexual dimorphism
  • mostly green, small white post-ocular spot
  • bluish frontlet and bluish cast on throat
  • long, dark bluish-purple, forked tail
  • undertail area purple
  • legs surrounded by fluffy, white feathers


The form in Peru has coppery tones on nape.


The Andes: Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.


Five subspecies recognized1:

  • E. l.i meridae in the Andes of west Venezuela (Mérida)
  • E. l. luciani in the Andes of southwest Colombia (Nariño) and north Ecuador
  • E. l. baptistae in the Andes of central and southern Ecuador
  • E. l. catharina in the east slope of the Andes of northern Peru, from Amazonas (south and east of the Marañón Valley) south to southeastern La Libertad
  • E. l. sapphiropygia in the east slope of the Andes of central and southern Peru, from Pasco south to Puno

The subspecies catharina and sapphiropygia were formerly regarded as separate species (Coppery-naped Puffleg, Eriocnemis sapphiropygia) by some authorities.


Montane forests in the cloud forest belt. The species is described to occur at 2900-3600 m asl, but photos in the gallery are taken down to below 1600 m.


Readily comes to hummingbird feeders if they are present in the area.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2022. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2022. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F, D Donsker, and P Rasmussen (Eds). 2022. IOC World Bird List (v 12.2) DRAFT. Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.12.2. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/

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