Large hummingbird of very high elevations in the Andes. Almost endemic to Ecuador but just barely reaches far southern Colombia. Spectacular male has purple hood and white underparts marked with a black belly stripe. In central Ecuador, male has a small patch of green on the throat. Females and immatures are duller, with mostly drab green and grayish plumage and a streaky throat. No overlap with Blue-throated Hillstar. Usually encountered in páramo near patches of Chuquiraga bushes, which have bright orange flowers shaped like tiny pine cones. Birds feed from and aggressively guard favored flower patches, and pollen can stain the face orange.
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