8-9 cm Metallic green above, copperier at the rump, upper tail-coverts iridescent green. Golden green ventrally, with more iridescent green crissum and small black sheepskin. Very short tail, quite forked and with pointed tips. Similar female, but with dense green and whitish mottling on all ventral parts, except for the iridescent green crissum. Their jerseys are dirty white.
It is distributed from the Central Cordillera of the Andes in Colombia to the extreme north of Ecuador (Hilty and Brown 1986, Matheus 2002). Between 3000-3500 m.s.n.m.
It has been observed consuming six species of plants with tubular and colorful flowers (Freile and Mazariegos 2006): Centropogon sp. (Campanulaceae), was the most frequently consumed plant, followed by Epidendrum sp. (Orchidaceae), Macleania cocoloboides (Ericaceae), Bomarea sp. (Alstroemeriaceae), Miconia sp. (Melastomataceae) and an indeterminate species of the Rubiaceae family. Forages at various levels, mainly along edges and sometimes into forest (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001). They can go to the interior of the forest coinciding with the flowering of Barnadesia spinosa and Guzmania sp. (Gutiérrez et al. 2004).
Population and Conservation Status
Rare and local species; few records exist (Matheus 2002). Uncommon to locally somewhat common in montane forest, forest edge, and shrub areas in the temperate zone on both sides of the Andes (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001). Cresswell et al. (1999) found a higher density in pristine habitats (forests, groves and bushes), with approximately 150 individuals per km2, but also a significant density in secondary habitats (60 individuals per km2). Robbins et al. (1994) report this species as common at 3400 m in Cerro Mongus (Carchi province).
Vocalization / Voice