Unsorted Wild Birds

Sapphire-vented Pufflegs

The Sapphire-vented Pufflegs (Eriocnemis luciani) – also commonly referred to as Long-tailed Puffleg – is a sedentary (non-migratory) South American hummingbird that occurs naturally in the Andes of southwest Colombia (Nariño), western Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.

It is the largest and most widely distributed of all pufflegs found along the east slope of Andes, south and east of Maranon Valley. Even though they are not reported from Peru north of Maranon, they but might occur there.

Their preferred habitat includes elfin forest, humid montane forests (particularly at forest openings), bushy and grassy paramo slopes, and along the forest edge. They are usually found at elevations from 7,800 to 13,000 ft (2,400 – 4,000 m).


Recognized Races

  • Sapphire-vented Puffleg – Eriocnemis luciani luciani (Bourcier, 1847) – Nominate race
    • Range: Ecuador
  • Eriocnemis luciani meridae (Schuchmann, Weller and Heynen, 2001)
    • Range: Paramo Conejos, Mérida Andes, western Venezuela, 3000m)
    Eriocnemis luciani baptistae (Schuchmann, Weller and Heynen, 2001)
    • Range: Southern Ecuador
    Peruvian Puffleg – Eriocnemis luciani catharina (Salvin, 1897)
    • Range: Northern Peru
apphire-vented Puffleg (Eriocnemis luciani)

Disputed Races

  • Eriocnemis luciani soederstroem – Some consider it a hybrid or a race or aberrant form of the Turquoise-throated Puffleg (Eriocnemis godini) – a possibly extinct race.Eriocnemis luciani isaacsonii – Known only from three Bogotá trade skins which are not identical. May be a hybrid.Coppery-naped Puffleg (Eriocnemis [luciani] sapphiropygia) (Taczanowski, 1874)
    • Range: Central to southern Peru Even though some authorities consider the Coppery-naped Puffleg (Eriocnemis [luciani] sapphiropygia) a subspecies of the Sapphire-vented Puffleg, physical differences support treatment as separate species.

Alternate (Global) Names

Spanish: Calzadito Colilargo Norteño, Calzoncitos Colilargo, Colibrí Pantalón de Frente Azul … Italian: Colibrì zampepiumose codazaffiro, Fiocchetto culzaffiro … French: Érione catherine … German: Blaustirn-Schneehöschen … Danish: Kilehalet Kvastben … Czech: Kolibrík modrobrichý, kolib?ík safíro?itý … Finnish: Safiirisukkakolibri … Japanese: aoharawataashihachidori … Dutch: Saffierpluimbroekje … Norwegian: Langhaledunfot … Slovak: pancuchárik zafírový … Swedish: Kilstjärtad tofsbena

Sapphire-vented Puffleg (Eriocnemis luciani)
Sapphire-vented Puffleg (Eriocnemis luciani)


The Sapphire-vented Puffleg measures 4.5 – 4.7 inches (11.5 – 12 cm) in length (including bill and tail). Its straight, black bill is about 0.8 inches (2 cm) long. It has a long, deeply forked, blue tail. It has distinctive small white eye spots.

The plumage is mostly a glossy green with purplish blue under tail feathers.

This species was named for the snow-white dense feathering around the legs known as “leg puffs” (which are not always visible). These leg puffs are unique to the pufflegs and have been described as resembling “woolly panties” or “little cotton balls” above the legs.

The female looks similar, but her plumage is generally duller and she is variably flecked with white on her under plumage.

Nesting / Breeding

The Sapphire-vented Puffleg’s breeding season likely commences in February or March.

Diet / Feeding

The Sapphire-vented Pufflegs primarily feed on nectar taken from a variety of brightly colored, scented small flowers of trees, herbs, shrubs and epiphytes.

Hummingbird Resources


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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