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Tyrian Metaltail - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Oregonian
South of Bogota, Colombia, September 2006
Metallura tyrianthina


Photo © by njlarsen
Guango Lodge, Napo, Ecuador, August 2015

9–10 cm (3½-4 in); straight bill 1 cm.
Male is mainly dark green with glittering green throat gorget and white postocular spot. The subspecies differ in tail coloration, from bronzy-green, bronzy-olive, coppery-red, to golden-red.
Female is slightly smaller than male, green above, buff to cinnamon underside, and with tail similar to male.


Female, Subspecies districta
Photo © by NJ Larsen
Cuchilla de San Lorenzo, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia, 22 August 2023

South America: found in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.



Seven subspecies are recognized[1]:

  • M. t. districta:
  • Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (northern Colombia) and the Serrania de Perija (Colombia/Venezuela)
  • M. t. chloropogon:
  • Coastal mountains of northern Venezuela
  • M. t. oreopola:
  • Andes of western Venezuela (Lara, Trujillo and Mérida)

Metallura tyrianthina tyrianthina/quitensis

  • M. t. tyrianthina:
  • Andes of Colombia, Venezuela (Táchira), Ecuador and northern Peru
  • M. t. quitensis:
  • Andes of north-western Ecuador
  • M. t. septentrionalis:
  • Andes of northern Peru (west of Río Marañón)
  • M. t. smaragdinicollis:
  • Andes of eastern Peru and northern Bolivia


Medium to very high elevation often in forest, edges or around clumps of trees in more open high elevation areas.


Usually defends a feeding area from other hummers, at low to middle height of trees. Often lands on flower to feed.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Restall et al. 2006. Birds of Northern South America. Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300124156

Recommended Citation

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