Justification of Red List Category
This species is known only from two locations within a very small range, where its specialised habitat is very restricted and declining. It is listed as Endangered because habitat loss and degradation is almost certainly now impacting the known location.
The population is estimated to number 20,000-49,999 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 (e.g. the lower quartile of such estimates spans 50-130 individuals per km2) and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied.
Although there is very little information from its range, this species's population is suspected to be declining at a slow to moderate rate, in line with habitat loss and degradation.
Metallura iracunda occurs on the cerros Tres Tetas, Viruela, Pintado and Tetari, and probably Sabana Rubia, in the Sierra de Perijá on the border of Colombia (Guajira) and Venezuela (Zulia) (Meyer de Schauensee 1978, Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, A. Viloria per J. Fjeldså in litt. 1998, Hilty 2003).
It inhabits small areas of open páramo vegetation near summits (A. Viloria per J. Fjeldså in litt. 1998). Cerro Pintado comprises karstic limestone covered by elfin forest, Swallenochloa bamboo and grass páramo (A. Viloria per J. Fjeldså in litt. 1998). Cerro Tetari is sandstone and supports a different type of páramo vegetation (A. Viloria per J. Fjeldså in litt. 1998). It occurs at elevations of 2,800-3,200 m (A. Viloria per J. Fjeldså in litt. 1998), but as low as 1,850 m in Venezuela (Meyer de Schauensee 1978, Hilty 2003, Sharpe and Lentino 2008). No information on feeding or breeding ecology, or on movements (Heindl et al. 2015).
Habitat on the lower slopes of the Sierra de Perijá is severely threatened by narcotics cultivation, uncontrolled colonisation, cattle-ranching and mineral exploitation, which are all facilitated by the many roads approaching the sierra from the Colombian side (C. J. Sharpe in litt. 1997, 2000, A. Viloria per J. Fjeldså in litt. 1998, R. Strewe in litt. 2003, Sharpe and Lentino 2008). However, Cerro Tetari remains as yet unaffected by these developments (A. Viloria per J. Fjeldså in litt. 1998). Only patches of montane forest remain on the steepest slopes of the Cerro Pintado (R. Strewe in litt. 2003). Forest is still being lost to burning and poppy cultivation. Security problems make access very difficult (R. Strewe in litt. 2003). Sierra de Perijá is one of the most threatened ecoregions in Venezuela and amongst the highest national priorities for bird conservation (Rodríguez et al. 2004).
Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. At the national level, regarded as Endangered in Colombia (Renjifo et al. 2002) and Vulnerable in Venezuela (Sharpe 2008, Sharpe and Lentino 2015). Cerro Tetari is formally protected by Sierra de Perijá National Park, Venezuela, but there is no active management (Rodríguez and Rojas-Suárez 1995, A. Viloria per J. Fjeldså in litt. 1998, Sharpe and Lentino 2015). Cerro Pintado lies to the north of the park, but the inhabitants of the Villanueva village, Colombia, attempt to protect the natural habitat (A. Viloria per J. Fjeldså in litt. 1998). In 2014 ProAves created the Chamicero de Perijá reserve specifically to protect this species.
10 cm. Short-billed hummingbird with bright reddish tail. Short black bill. Male black with coppery-green gloss. Shining green crown and glittering green gorget. Bright, shining maroon-red to reddish-purple tail. Female dark green above and buffy below with few brown spots. Reddish tail like male, with buff-tipped outer feathers. Similar spp. Redder tail and more glistening than smaller Tyrian Metaltail M. tyrianthina. Female M. tyrianthina has less uniform underparts. Voice Unknown.
Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Pilgrim, J., Sharpe, C J & Symes, A.
Fjeldså, J., Rodríguez, J., Rojas-Suárez, F., Salaman, P., Sharpe, C J, Strewe, R. & Viloria, A.
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Metallura iracunda. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 15/09/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 15/09/2019.