Fr: Colibri à plastron noir
Ang: Black-breasted Hillstar
All: Schwarzbrust-Andenkolibri
Esp: Colibrí Pechinegro
Ita: Orostella pettonero
Nd: Zwartborstbergnimf
Sd: svartbröstad bergstjärna


Roger Ahlman
Pbase Galleries Peru and Ecuador

Ken Havard
My Bird Gallery & Flickr gallery 1 & Flickr gallery 2
William Price
PBase-tereksandpiper & Flickr William Price

Dubi Shapiro
Dubi Shapiro Photo Galleries
Text by Nicole Bouglouan


HANDBOOK OF THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD Vol 5 by Josep del Hoyo-Andrew Elliott-Jordi Sargatal - Lynx Edicions - ISBN: 8487334253

BIRDS OF PERU by Thomas S. Schulenberg, Douglas F. Stotz, Daniel F. Lane, John P. O’Neill, Theodore A. Parker III – Princeton University Press 2007– ISBN: 978-0-691-13023-1

Avibase (Denis Lepage)

Birdlife International

Birds of the World

Peru Aves - Peru Birds

Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia

Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre


Home page

Page Trochilidae family

Summary cards


Black-breasted Hillstar
Oreotrochilus melanogaster

Apodiformes Order – Trochilidae Family

The Black-breasted Hillstar is endemic to Peru where it occurs in the central west slope of the Andes, at high elevation. It is now considered a full species, following debate about the possibility of a melanistic morph of the Andean Hillstar.  
Like other members of genus Oreotrochilus, it feeds mainly on nectar from Chuquiragua spinosa shrubs. But other plant species are also visited. The nest is a cup-shaped structure glued to the rock surface or under ledge.   
The Black-breasted Hillstar is described as “uncommon” in the restricted range, but the species is not considered globally threatened.

Length: 12-13 cm
Weight: 8,4 g

The Black-breasted Hillstar adult male has greenish upperparts, including head and scapulars, darker and more bronzed than Andean Hillstar. The flight-feathers are dark brown. The tail is blue-black, without white on rectrices.
On the underparts, the gorget is bright emerald green. Rest of underparts is black, but flanks are pale buff and vent is brownish.

The bill (160-180 mm) is black and slightly decurved. The eyes are dark brown. Legs and feet are black.
Both male and female have a small, white patch on the rear eye.

The adult female is very similar to female Andean Hillstar, but she lacks the white bases on rectrices. However, the dusky tail feathers show broad, white tips. The female is greenish above and greyish below, with dark specks on the white throat.

The juvenile is not described, but it probably resembles adult female with duller plumage.

The Black-breasted Hillstar is fairly common in puna in C Peru, in Junín and Huancavelica, but also locally into the mountains of Ancash, Lima, Pasco and Ayacucho.

The Black-breasted Hillstar is found in puna slopes where it can feed on nectar from shrubs of Chuquiragua spinosa and cacti species. These places include rocky areas with vegetation, especially herbaceous, in sheltered situations.
The species is visible between 3,500 and 4,400 metres of elevation.

The vocal behaviour of the Black-breasted Hillstar is poorly known. Only a rapid, squeaky twittering with ascending and falling phrases has been heard during the chases.

The Black-breasted Hillstar feeds primarily on nectar from flowers, and especially from Chuquiragua spinosa shrubs. In the puna of Huancavelica, it also visits the flowers of low cushion cacti.

This species may become a “trap-liner” when searching for red flowers of various species such as Cajophora (Loasaceae), Castilleja (Orobanchaceae) and Puya (Bromeliaceae), although flowering Cassia (Fabaceae) and Eucalyptus are also visited.
Insects are caught in flight by hawking.

The displays are poorly known, but the male probably exposes the bright emerald green gorget during the courtship displays.

The Black-breasted Hillstar is sedentary, but it may perform some movements related to food resources, especially when cacti flowers are lacking.

It rarely hovers when feeding, in order to conserve energy in the cold environment. It only performs short-distance flights.  

The breeding season takes place in February-March.
The Black-breasted Hillstar builds its nest in protected sites, often sheltered places on rocks, under a rocky surface or overhanging ledge.
The large cup-shaped nest is made with moss and vegetal fibres. It is glued to the rock surface.
The female lays two white eggs. No more information.

The Black-breasted Hillstar is a restricted-range species. It is described as “uncommon and patchily distributed” and “locally common” in some areas.
The size of the population is unknown, but it is suspected to be stable in absence of substantial threats.
The Black-breasted Hillstar is not globally threatened and currently evaluated as Least Concern.