Unsorted Wild Birds

Bogotá Sunangel (Heliangelus zusii)

Hummingbird Information

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OverviewAlternate (Global) NamesDescription


The Bogotá Sunangels (Heliangelus zusii) – also known as Zusi’s Sunangels – are South American hummingbirds that are only known from one single, distinct skin purchased in Bogotá, Colombia, in 1909. Since skins traded in Bogotá were collected from as far away as Ecuador, its exact origin is difficult to verify; however, most believe it to have come from either the Eastern or Central Andes of Colombia.

Some suggest that this bird – believed to be a male – was a hybrid and should, therefore, not be treated as a valid species. However, the results of a recent genetic study confirmed that this was in fact a valid species. (Ref. DNA from a 100-year-old holotype confirms the validity of a potentially extinct hummingbird species, by Jeremy J. Kirchman, Christopher C. Witt, Jimmy A. McGuire and Gary R. Graves)

Since it is feasible that a relict population still exist, this species is listed as “critically endangered;” however, since no living bird has ever been found, most authorities believe it to be extinct .


The Bogota Sunangels measures about 4.8 inches (12 cm) in length – including the tail.

The plumage is mostly dark bluish-purplish, except for …

  • black flight feathers,a glossy green chin and gorget (throat patch) and frontlet,a deep greenish-blue lower back and rump,a deeply forked, glittering, dark purple tail.

The black bill is short and straight.

Similar Species

  • Resembles the Nehrkorn’s Sylph (Neolesbia nehrkorni) – typically considered a hybrid – which has a bluish-black tail (purple in the Bogota specimen) and a slightly down-curved bill (straight in the Bogota bird). It also lacks the frontlet and throat patch of the Bogota specimen.Other Sunangel hummingbirds (genus: Heliangelus) have green or bronzy-green body plumages.

Alternate (Global) Names

Czech: kolib?ík bogotský …Danish: Bogotásolalf …Dutch: Zonneengeltje … German: Sonneengelkolibri … Spanish: Ángel de Bogotá … Finnish: enkelikolibri … French: Héliange de Bogota … Italian: Eliangelo di Bogotà … Norwegian: Bogotásolengel … Polish: lordzik czarny … Russian: ??????????? ????? … Slovak: nymfárik zelenobradý, vrchárik zelenobradý … Swedish: Bogotasolängel

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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