Marvelous Spatuletail

South America


Loddigesia mirabilis


Its small population size and limited habitat range are already contributing factors which are compounded by deforestation to make way for marijuana and coffee production.

The Marvellous Spatuletail is a Peruvian endemic hummingbird species from the Trochilidae family. It was first documented by the bird collector Andrew Matthews during the 1835 travel to the eastern slopes of the remote Utcubamba Valley which was funded by George Loddiges, hence the genus name Loddigesia.

The only representative of the Loddigesia genus exhibits sexual dimorphism although it can grow up to 15 cm in length only, including the tail, just the size of a fluffed-up ping pong ball.

It has a beak that is as big as a single matchstick, a turquoise-coloured gorget (throat patch), and plumage of white, green, bronze, and brown. With only just four feathers on its tail – two of which are racquet-shaped that can be moved independently – it is one of the most uniquely-featured birds in the world.