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This is the largest hummingbird in Central America. Occurs in montane forests from southern Mexico south to western Panama, and also is found at forest edges, in second growth forests, banana plantations, and flower gardens. The elevational range of the Violet Sabrewing in Mexico primarily is 500-2000 m, and 1500-2400 m in Costa Rica, but it frequently descends to lower elevations outside of the breeding season. In both sexes, the outer tail feathers have broad white tips. Otherwise the plumage of the male is very dark: the head, upper back and underparts are deep violet, and the lower back and rump are dark green. The female is paler green above, and mostly light gray below, with a blue throat. The males are polygynous and are not involved in the parental care. Males display at communal display grounds (leks), where up to 10 males sing from the understory. Females build bulky nests, lined with fine plant fibres and mosses. The nests of the Violet Sabrewings are placed 1-6 m above the streams or rivers on a horizontal branch.
Campylopterus hemileucurus is found in tropical habitats, particularly coastal slopes, inland forests, and tropical grasslands. They occur at elevations ranging from 3,300 to 8,000 meters. Campylopterus hemileucurus does not migrate, because food (nectar from flowers and small insects) is abundant in their habitats year-round.