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Wire-crested Thorntail - BirdForum Opus

Adult male
Photo © by bajadreamer
Wildsumaco Lodge, Ecuador, August 2018
Discosura popelairii

Popelairia popelairii


Adult female
Photo © by kitefarrago
Wild Sumaco, Napo, Ecuador, July 2016

Male 11·4 cm (4½ in); includes long tail. Female 7·5–8·2 cm (3-3¼ in)

  • Glittering green crown with long crest
  • Long blue tail feathers, with white shafts
  • Green upperparts
  • Broad white band across lower back


South America: found from eastern Colombia to eastern Ecuador and eastern Peru and adjacent Bolivia.


This is a monotypic species[1].

Discosura vs. Popelairia

Sibley & Monroe (1996) place Wire-crested Thorntail (popelairii), Black-bellied Thorntail (langsdorffi), and Coppery Thorntail (letitiae) in the genus Popelairia. However, Howard & Moore (2003) and Clements (2008) place these three taxa in Discosura, and Opus follows.

Adult male
Photo © by Stanley Jones
Cock of the Rock Lodge, Challabamba, Parque Nacional del Manu, Cusco Department, Peru, September 2018


They are to be found in humid forests and forest edges



Their diet consists of nectar from flowers from inga trees; they also catch insects on the wing.

They will readily visit garden feeders.


The only nest which has been seen was placed at the end of a branch at a height of about 8m.


Click on photo for larger image


  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. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved Mar 2018 and February 2019)

Recommended Citation

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