Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird (Lepidopyga lilliae)
Justification The very small range and rarity of this species suggest that its population is extremely small and that the population size at each of the known localities is tiny. Its habitat, and by inference the population, have undergone a considerable decline that may be continuing. This combination of factors leads to classification as Critical.
Identification 9 cm. Glittering, blue-bellied hummingbird. Medium-length, nearly-straight bill, black above and tip, with reddish lower. Male is shining green above. Entire underparts glittering blue. Blue-black forked tail. Female has shining green upperparts. Grey underparts, thickly spotted, glittering bluish on breast and flanks, fading on belly, becoming plain grey from lower belly to undertail-coverts. Green-black forked tail. Similar spp. Male Sapphire-throated Hummingbird L. coeruleogularis lacks glittering blue lower breast and belly. Female L. coeruleogularis all white below with green sides. Greyish-white tail tips. Voice Unknown.
Taxonomy Sometimes treated as subspecies of L. coeruleogularis.. . More recently, treated as a full species, an approach supported by recent description of more distinctive female plumage.
Population estimate 50-249
Population trend decreasing (continuing)
Range estimate 160 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Range & Population Lepidopyga lilliae is known locally on the Caribbean coast of Colombia (AtlMagdalena and La Guajira), most records originating in Isla de Salamanca National Park or CiGrande de Santa Marta. It appears to be either rare or sporadic at the few known localities. The population size is presumably low. It is likely to have declined since the mid-1970s owing to habitat loss, although knowledge of its exact habitat requirements is limited
Ecology It is apparently restricted to coastal mangroves, with one record from nearby xerophytic thickets. A female has been observed nest-building and feeding in a mature mangrove tree.
Threats Construction of a pipeline and road through the wetlands of the CiGrande de Santa Marta and Isla de Salamanca in the mid-1970s obstructed tidal flow and caused very extensive mangrove die-back, continuing at least until 1992, although mangroves are now regenerating in some areas. Domestic and industrial pollution and sewage, urbanisation and mangrove cutting are further problems.
Action CITES Appendix II. Isla de Salamanca National Park, Magdalena, receives little effective protection and habitat loss has been considerable. Despite a number of searches, there have been very few records within the national park during the 1990s. However, a large-scale programme to allow water to flow between the sea and the CiGrange de Santa Marta is probably benefitting the species and its habitat.