Marvelous Spatuletail Loddigesia mirabilis


Justification of Red List Category
There are recent records of this species from just two locations and the known range is very small. Little demographic information is available, but the best-known population seems to be declining. It is therefore considered Endangered.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 250-999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 375-1,499 individuals in total, rounded here to 350-1,500 individuals.

Trend justification
This species is suspected to lose 53.5-60.5% of suitable habitat within its distribution over three generations (12 years) based on a model of Amazonian deforestation (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). It is therefore suspected to decline by ≥50% over three generations.

Distribution and population

Loddigesia mirabilis is uncommon and restricted to the eastern slopes of the río Utcubamba valley (an affluent on the right bank of the río Marañón) in the Cordillera del Colán, Amazonas, and one locality further east in San Martín, north Peru (M. Pearman in litt. 1995). On the slopes above the río Utcubamba, it is known from three areas (north and south-east of Leimebamba, the Chachapoyas area and Florida, on the shore of Lago Pomacochas). However, a male recorded near Jesús del Monte, San Martín, in 1987 (M. Pearman in litt. 1995) indicates that there is much to learn about the species's distribution, and there are recent reports of the species from near Tingo, Utcubamba and the Leimebamba area (Mark et al. 2008). In the 1960s, it was reported to have occurred at c.15 localities west of the río Utcubamba in Luya province, but there is no supporting evidence. It appears to occur at low densities and numbers seem to have dwindled around Florida.


It occurs in forest edge, second growth, montane scrub and, in particular, thorny, impenetrable Rubus thickets admixed with Alnus trees, at 2,100-2,900 m (occasionally 1,700-3,700 m) (Clements and Shany 2001). Its preferred food-plant is the red-flowered lily Alstroemeria (Bomarea) formosissima, but it has been observed feeding on at least five species of flowering plant (R. Webster and R. A. Rowlett in litt. 1998). The breeding season is thought to run from late October to early May. Adult males (which are greatly outnumbered by females and immature males) gather at leks where they display to attract females.


Deforestation is widespread on the mountain slopes of the Cordillera del Colán, with much habitat cleared since 1978, and remaining forest under threat of conversion to cash-crops such as marijuana and coffee (Barnes et al. 1995). However, the species's apparent preference for forest edge and isolated woodlots on steep slopes may reduce its vulnerability to habitat alteration. Interviews with Florida's inhabitants and enquiries in a nearby market town have revealed that dried hearts of the males of this species are believed to have aphrodisiac properties (Garrigues 2000). Hunting with slingshots for this reason may even explain the skewed sexual ratio (Garrigues 2000).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. A protected area was set up under a conservation easement in 2006 (Anon 2006). Several organisations are currently working in partnership to conduct an education programme, survey additional sites and raise funds for land acquisition in the La Florida region (H. Lloyd in litt. 2007). In 2006, ECOAN established the Huembo Visitor Centre in Pomacochas, Amazonas.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue to survey to locate additional sites for the species (H. Lloyd in litt. 2007). Survey to investigate its potential occurrence west of the río Utcubamba (R. Webster and R. A. Rowlett in litt. 1998). Estimate the population near Florida. Protect remaining forests in the Cordillera del Colán (Barnes et al. 1995). Develop initiatives to reduce the impact of hunting.


10-15 cm. Medium-sized hummingbird with amazing tail. Male has blue crest-like cap. Blue gorget and black line down centre of breast and belly. Rest of underparts white with green sides of breast and belly. Above mostly bronzy-brown. Lateral tail feathers very long, bare and ending in large, dark rackets. Two central feathers long and narrow. Tail varies with age. Female has white throat and lacks black on underparts. Tail much shorter, still shows drop-shaped rackets. Similar spp. Booted Racket-tail Ocreatus underwoodii is much greener with rounded head. Voice Peculiar humming and loud flapping noises of the modified flight feathers.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Isherwood, I., Sharpe, C J, Stuart, T., Symes, A.

Rowlett, R., Pearman, M., Webster, R., Lloyd, H.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Loddigesia mirabilis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/10/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/10/2021.