Birds Species

Blue-fronted lancebill History and 5 Best Facts

Blue-fronted lancebill

The Blue-fronted lancebill History and 5 Best Facts (Doryfera johannae) is a species of bird hummingbird in the family Trochilidae. It is found in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Venezuela.

Taxonomy and Relationships

The Blue-fronted lancebill is classified in the hummingbird variety family Trochilidae and placed in the subfamily Trochilinae. Its genus Dorifera includes only two species. The other species of the genus is the green-fronted lance-bill, Dorifera Ludovici, which differs by the green forehead patch in the male. These lensbill species overlap geographically with the green front south of Bolivia.

Some taxonomic authorities place lensbills in their subfamily Doryphryna because of the special structure of the tongue. DNA evidence suggests that lance-bills diverged early in the evolutionary history of hummingbirds. Despite morphological adaptations such as bill shape, they do not appear to be closely related to hermits and other long-billed hummingbirds. Further research is needed to clarify the phylogenetics of this group.


The Blue-fronted lancebill is 9.6 to 11 cm (3.8 to 4.3 in) long. Males weigh 3 to 5 g (0.11 to 0.18 oz) and females weigh 3.3 to 6 g (0.12 to 0.21 oz). Both sexes have a long, straight rather than slightly raised bill and often hold it at an upward angle. Males of the nominate subspecies have a violet forehead (“front”), bronze nape, and otherwise dark bronze-green upperparts.

The tail is short and blue-black. The underparts are blue-black with a blue-green sheen on the throat and breast. The female differs from the male in having a greenish-blue forehead and dull gray-bronze-green underparts. Both sexes of DJ guianensis have a smaller bill than the nominate and are generally lighter but uniform in color.

Range and habitat

The Blue-fronted lancebill has a very limited range in the Andes, restricted to parts of Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. Its height ranges from 3000 to 4500 meters above sea level. It is found in elfin forests and thickets in the high Andes mountains. The elfin forests where it lives are dominated by small trees and shrubs that can withstand cold temperatures and high-altitude winds. It is found near the tree line, the height above which trees cannot grow due to extreme conditions.

are Overgrazing by livestock is another concern, as is habitat loss from mining activities in the Andes. Protecting the elfin’s remaining forest habitat will be critical to the conservation of this critically endangered species.

Food and diet

Blue-fronted lancebill history
Blue-fronted lancebill history

Like all hummingbird varieties, the blue-fronted lancebill feeds on flower nectar and small insects. Its slender bill is an adaptation for searching flowers for nectar. Common flowering genera include Poya, Choquiraga, Bernadaceae, and Aspeltia. When feeding, hummingbirds lick nectar from the flower using a tongue that extends to the end of the bill.

They use their high metabolisms for increased flights of power as they extract nectar. The blue-fronted lancebill prefers flowers that are the same length as its bill. This species exhibits tripling behavior, repeatedly visiting a regular circuit of productive flowers.

In addition to nectar, the blue-fronted lancebill eats small insects to obtain protein and other nutrients that are not found in nectar. They collect insects from plants and also hawk flies. Prey items include small bees, flies, spiders, and beetles.

To sound

The song of the blue-fronted lancebill is not described or recorded. When foraged, it produces a “thin, dry, sharp note … like a ‘choirt'”.


The IUCN lists the Blue-fronted lancebill as least concern, although its population size is unknown and believed to be declining. Most of the range of the named subspecies has been deforested, but DJ. guianensis is largely intact. It is “exceptionally common in well-forested habitats” and appears to be somewhat tolerant of local disturbances such as selective logging.

Cool Facts of Blue-fronted lancebill

1. A chunky hummingbird Varieties with a long, mostly straight bill. Males are distinctive with a bluish-purple forehead and mostly black underparts.

2.  Females are not black and have a green forehead. 

3. She is very similar to the female green-fronted lancebill but is smaller, has less bronze on the head, a bluer tail, and a lighter forehead. 

4. Commonly found in mid-elevation cloud forests, often near streams. In the Andean part of its range, it is found only on the eastern slopes. A visit to the feeders

5. Blue-fronted lancebill habitats face threats from climate change, as rising temperatures enable trees and shrubs to grow at higher altitudes, which would have eliminated open elfin forest habitats.