White-Tailed Sabrewing

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Campylopterus ensipennis

White-Tailed Sabrewing

The White-Tailed Sabrewing is a large hummingbird that was thought to have become extinct in Trinidad and Tobago after Hurricane Flora in 1963, but the population has now largely recovered.

It measures 4.72 inches long and weighs 10 grams.

Both sexes are similar but females are duller. Bill is 25 mm, black, long and slightly decurved.

Adult males are bright green with a shiny blue throat and a white moustachial stripe.

The 3 outer pairs of feathers of the tail are white and the shafts of the outer flight feathers are thickened and flattened which gives the distinctive feature of the sabrewings, their English and genus names.

In this case, both parts of the scientific name refer to this feature, Campylopterus and ensipennis being derived from the Greek and Latin respectively for "bent wing".

CALL: A rolled “chinzink”.

Feeds on nectar, taken mainly from undergrowth flowers.

Inhabits mountain forests. 

This species breeds in northeastern Venezuela and Tobago.

The female lays its 2 white eggs in a relatively large cup nest on a low branch, often near water.

Males perch conspicuously and defend their territories aggressively against other hummingbirds.
This large species is fearless and inquisitive.


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