Purple-backed Thornbill (Ramphomicron microrhynchum)

Order: Apodiformes | Family: Trochilidae IUCN Status: Least Concern

Age: Adult | Sex: Males | Loc. Eastern Andes, Colombia

Age: Adult | Sex: Females | Loc. Eastern Andes, Colombia

Age: Sub-adult | Sex: Males | Loc. Cuzco & Eastern Andes, Colombia

Age: Adult | Sex: Male | Loc. Eastern Andes, Colombia

Identification & Behavior: ~10.5 cm (4.1 in)-male, 8.5 cm (3.3 in)-female. The male Purple-backed Thornbill has bright purple upperparts. It has an iridescent green gorget, with green rest of the underparts.  The tail in the male is long and forked. The female is green above and whitish below heavily speckled with green.  The female has a white-tipped tail with conspicuous rusty uppertail coverts. The bill in both sexes is tiny, black, and straight. The female is similar to a female Tyrian Metaltail but is distinguished by not having buffy on the throat and upper breast, having a tiny bill, and rusty uppertail coverts.

Status: The Purple-backed Thornbill is rare in the canopy and sub-canopy of montane forests and forest edges on the east slope of the Andes. It is also rare and local in humid montane forests on the west slope of the Andes; in the Department of Cajamarca. The Purple-backed Thornbill occurs at elevations ranging from 2500-3600 m. It also occurs in Co, Ec, and Bo.

Name in Spanish: Pico-Espina de Dorso Púrpura.

Sub-species: Purple-backed Thornbill (Ramphomicron microrhynchum microrhynchum), Boissonneau, 1840. Andes of Colombia, Ecuador and NW Peru (to Cajamarca).
(Ramphomicron microrhynchum albiventre), Carriker, 1935. E slope in C & S Peru (Huánuco to Cuzco and Apurímac).

Meaning of Name: Ramphomicron: Gr. Rhamphos= bill and micron=little. microrhynchum: Gr. mikros= small, rhunkhos= bill.

See more of the Family Trochilidae   peru aves

Distribution Map
purple-backed thornbillVoice


    • Species range based on: Schulenberg, T. S., D. F. Stotz, and L. Rico. 2006. Distribution maps of the birds of Peru, version 1.0. Environment, Culture & Conservation (ECCo). The Field Museum.  http://fm2.fieldmuseum.org/uw_test/birdsofperu on 08/01/2015.