Venezuelan sylph

Venezuelan sylph

Venezuelan sylph

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Aglaiocercus berlepschii

The Venezuelan sylph (Aglaiocercus berlepschi ) is an Endangered species of hummingbird in the "coquettes", tribe Lesbiini of subfamily Lesbiinae. It is restricted to two small mountain ranges in northeastern Venezuela.


The male Venezuelan sylph is 22 cm (8.7 in) long including the 14 to 15 cm (5.5 to 5.9 in) outer tail feathers and weighs 5.5 g (0.19 oz). Females are 9.5 to 11 cm (3.7 to 4.3 in) long and weigh 4.5 g (0.16 oz). Both sexes have a short black bill. Males have a dark glittering green crown and a shining green back. They have a glittering blue gorget and bronzy green underparts with puffy white thighs. The inner tail feathers are short and blue-green; the outer ones are very long and deep violet at the base becoming blue at the end. Females have a glittering blue crown; otherwise their upperparts are similar to the male's. Their throat, breast, and belly are white with green spots. Their tail is short and slightly forked, blue-green with white tips on the outer feathers. Immatures resemble adult females with buffy fringes on the head feathers.



Biogeographical realms

The Venezuelan sylph occurs where Sucre, Monagas, and Anzoátegui states meet. It is found in two ranges of the Turimiquire Massif, the eastern Cordillera de Caripe and the western Serranía de Turimiquire. It inhabits subtropical forest and scrubland on coastal mountain slopes between 1,450 and 1,800 m (4,800 and 5,900 ft) of elevation.

Venezuelan sylph habitat map
Venezuelan sylph habitat map
Venezuelan sylph
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Habits and Lifestyle

The Venezuelan sylph is sedentary.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

The Venezuelan sylph feeds on nectar from flowering vines, shrubs, and trees, especially those of genus Inga. It uses trap-lining around a circuit of flowering plants but also will defend specific feeding territories. It also catches insects by hawking from a perch. It typically forages alone or in pairs but sometimes several will feed at a flowering tree.

Mating Habits

The Venezuelan sylph's breeding season spans from August to January. The female builds a domed nest in epiphytes and incubates the eggs. Nothing else is known about the species' breeding phenology.


Population number

The IUCN has assessed the Venezuelan sylph as Endangered. Its population could be as small as 1500 mature individuals and is believed to be decreasing. It has a very small range whose landscape is increasingly being converted to agriculture and pasture. Though it occurs in Cueva del Guácharo National Park and Macizo Montañoso del Turimiquire Protective Zone, the latter is only nominally protected and deforestation continues there.


1. Venezuelan sylph Wikipedia article -
2. Venezuelan sylph on The IUCN Red List site -

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