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Dry-forest Sabrewing is very similar to Gray-breasted Sabrewing (Campylopterus largipennis), and indeed for many years Dry-forest was confused with Gray-breasted Sabrewing. The plumage of the two species is very similar: both species are dull green above and whitish gray below, with a large white spot behind the eye. The most signifance differences in plumage between the two species are subtle, relating to the shape of green on the bases of the outer tail feathers, and the extent of white on the tips of those rectrices. On the other hand, Dry-forest Sabrewing is restricted to deciduous dry forests on outcrops of limestone, whereas Gray-breasted Sabrewing occurs in the understory of humid lowland forest; it is one of the most widespread hummingbirds of the Amazon Basin.