Bearded mountaineer

Oreonympha nobilis

The bearded mountaineer is a species of hummingbird in the Trochilidae family. It is found only in Peru. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical high-altitude shrubland.

The ornithologist John Gould described the species in 1869, from a specimen collected by H. Whitely at Tinta District, and placed it in its own genus ''Oreonympha''. He recognised a kinship with ''Oxypogon'' and ''Ramphomicron''. The genus name is derived from the Ancient Greek words ''oreo-'' "mountain" and "nympha" "nymph", while the specific epithet is the Latin adjective ''nobilis'', "noble". A study of mitochondrial DNA of hummingbirds shows it to be most closely related to the bearded helmetcrest and the rufous-capped thornbill . The other member of the genus ''Chalcostigma'' lay outside the group, suggesting the genus might need revising in the future. Two subspecies are recognised - the more widespread nominate subspecies ''nobilis'' has a blue eyebrow, while the more restricted ''albolimbata'' has white.

Measuring 15.5 to 16.5 cm in length, it is a large hummingbird with a long tail and a 2.4 cm long bill. The underparts of both sexes are white, while the tail is white underneath with black feather tips. The male has a green and purple throat. The upper parts are a bronze-sheened brown and the legs and bill are black.

The species is endemic to Peru, where it is found in high altitude valleys in the south-central Andes, from 2,700 to 3,900 m . It lives in scrubland, and often visits tobacco plants along roadsides.
Status: Least concern
EX EW CR EN VU NT LC
Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionChordata
ClassAves
OrderApodiformes
FamilyTrochilidae
GenusOreonympha
SpeciesO. nobilis
Photographed in
Peru