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Heliangelus clarisse

Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Aves
Subclassis: Carinatae
Infraclassis: Neornithes
Parvclassis: Neognathae
Ordo: Trochiliformes
Familia: Trochilidae
Subfamilia: Trochilinae
Genus: Heliangelus
Species: Heliangelus clarisse


Heliangelus clarisse, (Longuemare, 1841)

Vernacular names
English: Longuemare's Sunangel

Longuemare's Sunangel (Heliangelus clarisse) is a species of hummingbird found in Venezuela and northeastern Colombia.[1] It is closely related to the Amethyst-throated Sunangel, and species limits in this complex are unclear.[2]


Originally spencei was described as a separate species and the other three species were considered subspecies of the Amethyst-throated Sunangel, whose undoubted populations live in Ecuador and Peru. Other arrangements have been suggested, and many authorities lump all of these groups with the Amethyst-throated.[3] A review by the American Ornithologists' Union's South American Check-list Committee stated that the situation is unclear and any decision is arbitrary until more data are available.[2]


This species is 9.4 cm (3.7 inches) long (not including the bill) and weighs 5.3 grams, on average. The bill is short for a hummingbird—1.8 cm or 0.7 in long. The overall impression is of dark plumage.[1]

Males are dark green above except that the crown is velvety black in verdiscutus and spencei, purplish in violiceps, and dull green in clarisse. They have a narrow, glittering blue "frontlet" above the bill. Behind the eye is a bold white spot. They have a glittering pinkish-purple throat above a white crescent crossing the chest, which in turn has a green lower border—glittering in violiceps and verdiscutus, shining in spencei. The rest of the breast and belly is shining dark green mixed with gray. The undertail coverts are white except in spencei, where they are buff. The tail is long and broad, bronze-green to blackish, with tiny white tips on the two outer feathers. Females resemble males but are duller, and white feather bases may show in the throat.[1][4]

Vocalizations are little-known. Foraging spencei individuals give a "short, low-pitched, cricketlike trill" very similar to a call of the Orange-throated Sunangel. Among the vocalizations of verdiscutus is "a single, upward-inflected tsit" repeated about every half-second.[1]

Distribution and habitat

As defined here following the Handbook of the Birds of the World,[5] this species comprises four subspecies: H. c. clarisse in the Colombian Andes from Norte de Santander to the latitude of Bogotá; violiceps in the Sierra de Perijá (only in Zulia in Venezuela); H. c. verdiscutus in southeastern Norte de Santander, Colombia, and southern Táchira, Venezuela; and H. c. spencei isolated in Mérida, Venezuela.[1][4]

It inhabits forests, especially edges and openings, as well as brushy pastures[1] and damp ravines with bushes[4]; spencei prefers forest interiors. Its altitude range is 1800 to 3100 meters.[1]

Three of the subspecies are common, spencei much less so.


Longuemare's Sunangel generally flies and perches fairly low. Along forest edges with rich patches of flowers such as Psammisia and similar plants of the heath family, it behaves territorially. However, within forests, it flies along "trap-lines" from one flowering vine, epiphyte, or shrub (such as Palicourea) to the next. It feeds on nectar by hovering in front of flowers or clinging. In addition, it occasionally catches airborne insects in short flights. It feeds actively in the midst of mixed-species flocks when they pass.[1]


Birds have been found in breeding condition from May to August. One nest of spencei was a downy cup on a small root exposed by an overhanging roadbank.[1]


1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hilty, Steven L. (2003), Birds of Venezuela, Princeton University Press, pp. p. 426, ISBN 0-691-09250-8, http://www.amazon.com/dp/0691092508/, retrieved 2007-10-06
2. ^ a b Stiles, Gary (November, 2004), Split Heliangelus clarisse from H. amethysticollis, http://www.museum.lsu.edu/~remsen/SACCprop142.html, retrieved 2007-10-07 . A proposal to continue to consider this species part of H. amethysticollis pending further study, with unanimous agreement from six other ornithologists.
3. ^ IUCN (2007) ( Scholar search), 2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, retrieved 2007-10-07 [dead link]
4. ^ a b c Hilty, Steven L.; Brown, William L. (1986), A Guide to the Birds of Colombia, Princeton University Press, pp. p. 66, ISBN 0-691-08371-1, http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN069108372X, retrieved 2007-10-06
5. ^ Schuchmann, K. L. (1999), "Family Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)", in del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (editors), Handbook of Birds of the World, Volume 5: Barn-owls to Hummingbirds, Barcelona: Lynx Edicions, pp. 468–680, ISBN 84-87334-25-3

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