The first ever photo of a living Santa Marta Sabrewing is the first confirmation of the continued existence of this spectacular hummingbird in over 60 years. Stunningly, the area where the bird was found – the El Dorado Bird Reserve in the Santa Marta Mountains of northern Colombia – had been slated for development in 2006 for vacation homes, but was spared by a last minute land purchase through funding from American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and Conservation International (CI), in cooperation with the Colombian conservation organization Fundación Pro Aves who expertly manages several bird reserves in Columbia.

The photograph was taken at El Dorado on 24 March by Laura Cardenas at about 6,200 feet elevation. Cardenas was monitoring migratory birds in the 1,600-acre reserve as part of a research project. This particular bird was caught in a mist net, banded, photographed, and released unharmed.

Santa Marta Sabrewing. Photo: © Laura Cárdenas