The black metaltail (Metallura phoebe) is the largest of the metaltails. This hummingbird species has a shiny black head, upperparts, and underparts, with a hint of red. It has a small, shining greenish-purple throat patch, small white spots behind each eye, and a medium-length straight black bill. In addition, it has white feathers at the tops of its legs and a forked bronze-toned tail. The female bird is similar but has a smaller throat patch.


This gorgeous black metaltail song is a repetitive, sharp single note. The hummingbird’s presumed chase call is a descending series of four to six sharp notes reminiscent of a Picumnus piculet. It also makes a repetitive short dry trill djrrt call that is longer dry chatter.


The species can mostly be found hovering at low levels in the understory and near the ground, where it takes nectar from a range of plants and trees. Also, cling with the flowers to stab the base of the flowers. It also sometimes feeds at greater heights in trees, shrubs, and flowering bushes.


It builds a nest from moss and roots, suspended from a branch over a stream.


Central and northern Peru; possibly also into northern Chile and Bolivia, but this is unconfirmed.


Black Metaltail is found in semi-open areas with semiarid woods and scrubland, mountainous areas with bushy and wooded slopes, and 4,600–14,750 ft (1,400–4,500 meters).


The breeding months are July to January.


The size of a black Metaltail is about 12–14 cm in length with a weight of 5.5–6 g.  


The current global population is unknown, but it appears to be in decline as a result of habitat loss, although the species is regarded as fairly common in its range. Black Metaltail is the least concerned hummingbird.


Black Metaltail is a species of hummingbird in the “coquettes”, tribe Lesbiini of the subfamily Lesbiinae.


Some elevation movements are possible despite it being a sedentary bird.

Related Reading: The Distinctive Stripe-tailed Hummingbird

Black Metaltail – A Shiny Black Head Hummingbird
Black Metaltail – A Shiny Black Head Hummingbird.


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