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Blue-tailed Hummingbird - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Stanley Jones
Vesusvius, Los Tarrales, Guatemala, 20 April 2010
Saucerottia cyanura

Amazilia cyanura


In indirect sunlight appears all dark, except for white thighs. Underparts and most of upperparts green. Rump purplish and tail deep blue throughout.
Male A. c. guatemalae has a small rufous flash in the wings, which is reduced or absent in females. A. c. cyanura has a bold rufous patch over much of the wing in both sexes.

The closely related Blue-vented Hummingbird to the south in Nicaragua and Costa Rica (where occasional records of Blue-tailed are made) lacks rufous in the wings.

Hybrids with Berylline Hummingbird are reasonably common (only reported within the range of A. c. cyanura), which have some blue and some rufous feathers in the tail.

Similar species

In Costa Rica, rufous on the secondaries and base of primaries are also found on Stripe-tailed Hummingbird -- it may be more extensive on that species.


Very limited distribution with the two subspecies located in two separate areas. A. c. guatemalae is found in a tiny area along the Pacific slope of Guatemala and the southern tip of Oaxaca in Mexico. A. c. cyanura is found in eastern El Salvador, southern Honduras (and a few scattered location further inland) and western Nicaragua.


Two distinct subspecies are described (S. c. guatemalae to the north and west and S. c. cyanura to the south and east), which may be sufficiently different to consider them as different species. However the almost complete lack of knowledge of the biology of both species makes the taxonomic status difficult to determine.
S. c. cyanura often hybridizes with the closely related Berylline Hummingbird Amazilia beryllina.


Three subspecies recognised by Clements[1] (though not by all authorities[2],[3]:

  • S. c. guatemalae:
  • Pacific slope of southern Mexico (south-eastern Chiapas) to southern Guatemala
  • S. c. cyanura:
  • S. c. impatiens:


Humid evergreen forest and edge, coffee plantations.


Tend to be found on fairly low vegetation either deep within forest or at forest edge. Sing from low bushes in open areas at forest edge. Several records from Costa Rica of the southern form S. c. cyanura suggest that it might be partially migratory.


Click on photo for larger image


  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. Tom Jenner
  3. Avibase

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