Campylopterus calcirupicola, Lopes, Leonardo Esteves, Vasconcelos, Marcelo Ferreira De & Gonzaga, Luiz Pedreira, 2017

Lopes, Leonardo Esteves, Vasconcelos, Marcelo Ferreira De & Gonzaga, Luiz Pedreira, 2017, A cryptic new species of hummingbird of the Campylopterus largipennis complex (Aves: Trochilidae), Zootaxa 4268 (1), pp. 1-33: 15-21

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Campylopterus calcirupicola

sp. nov.

Campylopterus calcirupicola  sp. nov.

Dry-forest Sabrewing (English)

Asa-de-sabre-da-mata-seca (Portuguese)

Holotype. MZUSP 99024View Materials: adult female (bill not corrugated) from Sítio Duboca (16°43’19’’S, 43°58’20’’W, elevation 840 m), municipality of Montes Claros, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, collected on June 6, 2007, by L.E.L., M.F.V. and S. D’Angelo Neto, prepared as a study skin and partial skeleton by M.F.V. Skeleton ( MCNA 1753View Materials) and tissue samples ( B03899View Materials) were also preserved.GoogleMaps 

Paratypes. MZUSP 99025: adult male (skeleton MCNA 1755, tissue B03896). DZUFMG 5730: adult female (skeleton MCNA 1752, tissue B03898). MCNA 1754View Materials: young female (same number for skeleton, tissue B03897View Materials). All specimens collected in the same locality and date of holotype and prepared as study skins and partial skeletons by M.F.V. The remaining specimens examined (Appendix) are not part of the type series. 

Diagnosis. Campylopterus calcirupicola  ( Figures 7View FIGURE 7 and 8View FIGURE 8) differs from C. l. obscurus  and from C. l. aequatorialis  by its smaller size; basal half of outer rectrices bright bronze green, instead of bright bluish black; LTTs long and white, instead of greyish. It differs from C. l. largipennis  by its smaller size; bases of outer rectrices bright bronze green instead of bright bluish black; and LTTs proportionally longer ( Figure 6View FIGURE 6). It differs from C. l. diamantinensis  by its smaller size and LTTs proportionally longer. A practical rule of thumb for separating these two taxa is to divide the sum of the length of LTT-2 and LTT-3 by the length of wing. Values below 0.44 indicate C. l. diamantinensis  , whereas values above this indicate C. calcirupicola  (see below an identification key for the species in this complex). Another character that might help in the identification of C. calcirupicola  is the shape of the rectrices, which are narrower and more pointed than in C. l. diamantinensis  , but given that this character varies with age (see below), a thorough evaluation of it in light of larger samples is necessary.

Description of holotype. Bill long and slightly decurved; all of upperparts, upper and lower wing coverts bright bronze green, with the pileum darker with coppery reflections; post-ocular white spot; remiges bluish black (5PB 2.5/1) with a metallic shine; underparts uniform light grey (2.5Y 7/1) except abdomen whitish (2.5Y 8/1); undertail coverts light grey (2.5Y 7/1); tail rounded, with 10 rectrices, the central pair being bright bronze green, the same color shown in the sub-central pair, which has a small terminal spot dark olive grey, three pairs of lateral rectrices with the base bright bronze green, with a narrow dark olive grey (5Y 3/2) band, especially in the inner vanes, preceding the white tip of these rectrices, which corresponds to 49% of the length of outermost rectrices, 44% of the length of the second outermost rectrices and 27% of the length of the third outermost rectrices. Barepart colors in life: iris dark brown; maxilla black; mandible greyish red with black tip; tarsus, toes and nails black.

Measurements of holotype. Total length 139 mm; culmen 29.4 mm; wing 66.5 mm; tail 45.9 mm (LTTs of the three outer rectrices, from outside: 22.4, 20.3 and 12.5 mm); weight 6.1 g.

Etymology. The name calcirupicola  is Latin, composed by “calx”, calcis, limestone; “rupes”, steep rocks; and “cola”, dwelling ( Eggli & Newton 2004). It refers to the habitat of this new hummingbird, which inhabits dry forests growing on limestone outcrops. This specific name matches that for the cactus Cereus calcirupicola F. Ritter  , found in the type locality and in the same habitat ( Ritter 1979) of the new hummingbird. The vernacular names we propose also refer to the habitat used by the new species.

Sexual dimorphism and variation among paratypes and non-type material. Sexes are alike, but males in definitive plumage have the shafts of the three outer primaries, which lack part of the outer vane, broad and flattened, and strongly bent distally; and bill slightly shorter and straighter than that of female ( Figure 1View FIGURE 1). Young males, which can be separated from definitive plumage birds by the corrugated rather than smooth bill texture as in adults ( Ortiz-Crespo 1972), do not have broad shafts of the outer primaries. Individual variation in plumage is small and apparently unrelated to sex, age or geographic distribution. Individual variation is shown in the intensity of the coppery reflections in the head and the color of upperparts, which appears more golden in some specimens and more bluish in others. In many specimens it is possible to observe a small invasion of bright bluish black in the area dominated by the dark olive grey in the tail feathers. Young birds have somewhat more pointed and narrower rectrices than adult birds, a feature already described for members of the C. aequatorialis  / obscurus  complex ( Naumburg 1930). Table 1 presents descriptive measurements of this taxon, in comparison to other members of the complex.

Geographic distribution. Campylopterus calcirupicola  has been recorded from Divinópolis de Goiás (northeastern state of Goiás) and Coribe (southwestern state of Bahia) to Bocaiúva (northern state of Minas Gerais) on both banks of the São Francisco River, as well as in the Paranã River valley, an important tributary of the Tocantins River, west of the Serra Geral ( Figures 9View FIGURE 9 and 10View FIGURE 10). The altitudinal range of this new species is between 460–880 m asl. The range of C. calcirupicola  probably extends to southeastern Tocantins ( Dornas et al. 2014) and the southern part of the state of Piauí ( Santos 2004), from where there are sight records of C. largipennis  . We believe that the specimen of C. largipennis  from “Posse, Goiás ” cited by Silva (1990) as housed in the MNRJ refers to the specimen from “Galheiros” housed in the same institution and mentioned by Ruschi (1951), probably representing a toponymic mistake committed by Silva (1990).

Habitat and behavior. Campylopterus calcirupicola  is a resident of dry forests on limestone rocky outcrops or on limestone-derived soils ( Figure 11View FIGURE 11). The diet of the species is poorly known, but it was recorded (M.F.V. and S. D’Angelo Neto, pers. obs.) visiting flowers of native and exotic species belonging to the following taxa: Acanthaceae  ( Justicia  sp.); Bignoniaceae  ( Spathodea campanulata  ); Bromeliaceae  (unidentified terrestrial species); Caricaceae  ( Carica papaya  ); Fabaceae  ( Camptosema  sp., Delonix regia  , Inga laurina  ); Lamiaceae  ( Salvia  sp.) and Malvaceae  ( Malvaviscus arboreus  ). Only 50% of males (n = 10) have the shafts of the outer primaries broad, with a mean width of 2.5 mm (n = 5). Males with normal shafts can also be reproductively active, as demonstrated by the enlarged testes of some collected specimens. Its breeding biology is unknown, and its nest has not yet been described. Breeding season can be inferred from the gonads of collected specimens (deposited in DZUFMG and in MPEG). Males with enlarged testes (> 2.5 mm) were collected on 13 May, 19 July and 27 September. Females with a well-developed brood patch (DZUFMG) were collected on 24 June and 21 December, suggesting an extended breeding season.

Geographic distribution of members of the Campylopterus largipennis  complex. Members of the C. largipennis  complex are widely distributed across the entire Amazon region and seem to come into contact in some isolated parts of their range ( Figure 9View FIGURE 9). The range of C. l. largipennis  is centered in the Guianan shield, north of the Amazon river, extending westward to both banks of the Uaupés River (e.g., AMNH 434093–434099; three unnumbered NRM specimens from “Taraquá, Rio Uaupés”), in the headwaters of the Negro River, which demonstrates that this river does not represent a geographical barrier for the taxon. This subspecies is found mainly below 600 m, but can be found locally to ~ 1300 m in isolated tepuis. No zone of sympatry is known between C. l. largipennis  and C. l. aequatorialis  , which was collected in “Río Duda, Mt Macarena” ( AMNH 460155–460158), ~ 600 km to the northwest, the nearest locality from where we examined specimens of this taxon.

There is an alleged specimen collected by Natterer in August at Ypanema ” (von Pelzeln 1868–1870), an old iron mill in the state of São Paulo, located at 23°26’S 47°36’W, cGoogleMaps  . 600 m asl (Vanzolini 1993). This record, although considered doubtful by Ihering (1898), was later accepted by the same author ( Ihering & Ihering 1907). It is noteworthy that, to our knowledge, this record was not cited in the literature during the last one hundred years, even in compilations and checklists of the São Paulo avifauna (e.g. Willis & Oniki 2003; Silveira & Uezu 2011). We visited the Naturhistorisches Museum   , Vienna, Austria, where this specimen was supposed to be housed, but failed to locate it there, and we did not find it in more than a dozen museums which could have received it in exchange (see Methods). Therefore, we suggest that the “Ypanema” record may have originated from a typographic error. 

Campylopterus l. aequatorialis  is a western Amazonian taxon with a strong foothill component, being frequently found in pre-Andean forests up to ~ 1600 m. Campylopterus l. obscurus  is a southern Amazonian taxon, restricted to lowlands. Both reach the headwaters of some of the tributaries of the Madeira, Tapajós, Xingu and Tocantins rivers, in transitional areas between the Amazonian forests and savannahs, where rivers are relatively narrow and apparently do not act as barriers for these taxa ( Figure 9View FIGURE 9). The likely contact between these taxa was predictable, because this is not a true humid lowland forest species, being often found in riverine forests and borders. The seeming absence of members of this complex from much of lowland western and central Amazonia ( Figure 9View FIGURE 9) deserves further investigation, because it may be due to poor sampling.

Populations from eastern Brazil are isolated from Amazonian taxa by almost 600 km ( Figure 9View FIGURE 9) of predominantly non-forested habitats across central Brazil. Campylopterus l. diamantinensis  and C. calcirupicola  occur in parapatry, living in very distinctive habitats (compare Figures 11View FIGURE 11 and 12View FIGURE 12), with the nearest known records of both being only 25 km apart ( Figure 10View FIGURE 10), without any evidence of hybridization between these populations.


Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de Sao Paulo


Museo de Ciencias naturals de Alava


Museu Nacional/Universidade Federal de Rio de Janeiro


Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi


American Museum of Natural History


Swedish Museum of Natural History - Zoological Collections