Sword-billed hummingbird

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Sword-billed hummingbird
Sword-billed Hummingbird - Ecuador S4E4619.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae
Subfamily: Trochilinae
Genus: Ensifera
Lesson, 1843
Species: E. ensifera
Binomial name
Ensifera ensifera
(Boissonneau, 1840)

The sword-billed hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera) is a species of hummingbird from South America and the sole member of the genus Ensifera. It is found at higher elevations (mostly above 2,500 m or 8,200 ft) in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.


The genus and species name ensifera ("sword-wielder") is derived from Latin ensis (sword) and ferre (to carry), and refers to this hummingbird's remarkable beak length.


Sword-billed hummingbird

It is noted as the only species of bird to have a bill longer than the rest of its body. This adaptation is to feed on flowers with long corollas such as Passiflora mixta. The tongue is therefore also unusually long.

Since the sword-billed hummingbird's beak is very long, it preens itself with its feet.[2] From base of the bill to the tail tip, this species averages 14 cm (5 12 in) in length, not counting the over 10 cm (4 in) bill. This hummingbird weighs about 10–15 g (0.35–0.53 oz) and is one of the largest species of hummingbirds.[3]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Ensifera ensifera". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Clayton, Dale H.; Cotgreave, Peter (1994). "Relationship of bill morphology to grooming behaviour in birds" (PDF). Animal Behaviour. 47 (1): 195–201. doi:10.1006/anbe.1994.1022. 
  3. ^ Burnie, D.; Wilson, D. E., eds. (2005). Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife. DK Adult. ISBN 0789477645. 

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