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This Peruvian endemic is a large hummingbird with a long, forked tail. Males have colorful green and purple gorgets; the crown coloration of males varies by subspecies. Bearded Mountaineers inhabit dry montane scrub, bush-filled and lightly wooded areas, rocky outcrops, and gorges. They are rather cautious and are usually subordinate to other hummingbirds. Bearded Mountaineers either cling to or hover around flowers and continuously open and close their tails as they feed on nectar. Although Bearded Mountaineers are much sought after by birders, very little is known about the natural history of this attractive species.