Tyrian Metaltail (Metallura tyrianthina)

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

Age: Adult | Sex: Male | Female | Loc. Cajamarca | Lima

Age: Adult | Sex: Males | Loc. Cajamarca

Age: Adult | Sex: Males | Loc. Cuzco, Peru

Age: Adult | Sex: Females | Loc. Cuzco, Peru

Identification & Behavior: ~10 cm (4 in). The male Tyrian Metaltail is green above with a green gorget. The underparts and tail color vary according to the sub-species. The female is green above with a buff throat and breast speckled with dusky-green. The belly is whitish.  The male in northern Peru (??) has a coppery-rufous tail. Males in other sub-species is steely blue. The tail in the female is a dull or dusky version of the male and has whitish tips, particularly on the outer feathers. The bill is relatively short, black, and straight. It is similar to the Scaled Metaltail but is distinguished by a blue tail and a shorter bill. The female resembles a female Rufous-capped Thorntail and a female Purple-backed Thorntail,but is distinguished by having buffy with dusky specks on the throat and breast.

Status: The Tyrian Metaltail is common in humid scrub, montane forest edges, and mixed shrubbery along the east slope of the Andes. It also occurs on the west slope of the Andes reaching as far south as the Andes of Lima. The Tyrian Metaltail ranges at elevations between 2400-4200 m. It also occurs in Co, Ec, and Bo.

Name in Spanish: Colibrí Tirio.

Sub-species: Tyrian Metaltail (Metallura tyrianthina tyrianthina), Loddiges, 1832. Andes of Colombia and E & S Ecuador to extreme N Peru (Piura).
(Metallura tyrianthina septentrionalis), E. Hartert, 1899. W slope of Andes of Peru (W of R Marañón, from Cajamarca to Lima).
(Metallura tyrianthina smaragdinicollis), d’Orbigny and Lafresnaye, 1838. E slope of Andes from Peru (S from Amazonas) to C Bolivia (Santa Cruz).

Meaning of Name: Metallura:  Gr. Metallon=  metal and oura=  tail. tyrianthina: L. tyrianthinus  tyrianthine= of a color between purple and violet.

See more of the Family Trochilidae   peru aves

Distribution Map
tyrian metaltailVoice


    • 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.