Avian and Attributes – Sword

Sword-billed Hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera) by Michael Woodruff

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39 KJV)

Avian and Attributes – Sword

1. An offensive weapon worn at the side, and used by hand either for thrusting or cutting.
2. Figuratively, destruction by war.
I will bring a sword upon you. Lev 26. Isa 51.
3. Vengeance or justice.
She quits the balance, and resigns the sword.
4. Emblem of authority and power.
The ruler–beareth not the sword in vain. Rom 13.
5. War; dissension.
I came not to send peace, but a sword. Mat 10.
6. Emblem of triumph and protection.
The Lord–the sword of thy excellence. Deu 33.

SWORDED, a. Girded with a sword.

Sword-billed Hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera)©WikiC

Sword-billed Hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera)©WikiC

The sword-billed hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera) is a neotropical species of hummingbird from the Andean regions of South America. It is the sole member of the genus Ensifera and is characterized by its unusually long bill; it is the only bird to have a beak longer than the rest of its body. E. ensifera uses its bill to drink nectar from flowers with long corollas and has coevolved with the species Passiflora mixta. While most hummingbirds preen using their bills, E. ensifera must use its feet to scratch and preen due to its bill being so long. This uncommon bird is also one of the largest hummingbird species.

Sword-billed hummingbirds are found perched on the mid to upper level branches of neotropical trees. Its length ranges 13 to 14 cm from the tail tip to the base of the bill, with males slightly larger on average than females. The bill can additionally be over 10 cm long. Individuals weigh between 10-15 g making it one of the largest species of hummingbirds. As is characteristic of hummingbirds, is able to fly backwards and hover in the air. It also exhibits higher than average wing-disc loading than other members of its family.

Sword-billed Hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera) Female ©WikiC

E. ensifera displays sexual dimorphism where plumage varies between males and females. Males have a coppery bronze head, bronze green back, bright green underbelly, blackish green throat, and bronze green tail. Females have a similarly colored head and back, a white belly speckled with green, a more olive colored throat, and grayish white edging around the tail.

The defining trait of this species is a beak longer than the rest of its body (excluding the tail). The tongue is also unusually long to span the length of the tube-shaped bill. The beak is black in color and curves slightly upwards. These adaptations help the hummingbird feed on flowers with long corollas that are inaccessible to other species.


Sword-billed Hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera) female (right) with a buff-tailed coronet ©WikiC

“And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” (Revelation 1:16-18 KJV)

More Avian and Attributes

Birds whose first or last name starts with “S”

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[Definitions from Webster’s Dictionary of American English (1828), unless noted. Bird info from Wikipedia plus.]

Formed By Him – “Sword and Piercer” Birds

Two Edges by wrdpico

When Jesus was taken to the temple for His dedication, Simeon met Mary and Joseph and told Mary:

And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. (Luke 2:34-35 KJV)

When Judas came to betray Christ in the garden, Peter took out his sword and cut of the right ear of one of them, but Jesus touched his ear and healed it.

And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people… And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him. (Luke 22:47, 50-51 KJV)

Most know the facts about the death of Christ on the cross. It was prophesied before the Lord ever came to earth that He would die on the cross. Then:

When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced. (John 19:30-37 KJV)

Throughout this week, the Scripture has been presented that tells of the events that were unfolding during the week of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. We have come to the “sword” and the fact that Christ’s side was “pierced,” as was Mary’s heart. Any mother’s heart would be pierced to see their son crucified, but Jesus was no ordinary son. She had the privilege of being His earthly mother, by way of the virgin birth, BUT, His Father was God, and He was, as the centurion stated:

Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. (Matthew 27:54 KJV)

Sword-billed Hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera) by Robert Scanlon

Sword-billed Hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera) by Robert Scanlon

If you have been following along this week, the “Palm” Birds, “Whip” Birds, and the “Thorn” Birds have been presented along with the events of Christ’s crucifixion. Now it is the “Sword” Birds and the “Piercer” Birds. A connection between the events and the names of the birds is being made to help us remember the Lord Jesus Christ. What love He has shown to us by laying down His life to purchase our salvation.

He created and loves the birds so, that when the little sparrow falls, He knows all about it. How much do you think He cares about me and you?

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 10:29-33 KJV)

Birds with “Sword” in their name:

There is only one bird in the list used here that has “sword” in its name, the Sword-billed Hummingbird. We have done an article on it already in – Formed By Him – Sword-billed Hummingbird.

Sword-billed Hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera) by Michael Woodruff

Birds with “Piercer” in their name:

Masked Flowerpiercer (Diglossa cyanea) by Michael Woodruff

Masked Flowerpiercer (Diglossa cyanea) by Michael Woodruff

The Tanagers and Allies – Thraupidae has a Genus of Flowerpiercers, called Diglossa. The Lord has created another facinating bird. The Flowerpiercer’s  common name refers to their habit of piercing the base of flowers to access nectar that otherwise would be out of reach. This is done with their highly created bills, although this is less obvious in the Bluish Flowerpiercer, which has an almost “normal” bill. Most flowerpiercers are restricted to highlands, especially the Andes, in South America, but two species occur in Central America.

Genus Diglossa
Cinnamon-bellied Flowerpiercer (Diglossa baritula)
Slaty Flowerpiercer (Diglossa plumbea)
Rusty Flowerpiercer (Diglossa sittoides)
Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer (Diglossa gloriosissima)
Glossy Flowerpiercer (Diglossa lafresnayii)
Moustached Flowerpiercer (Diglossa mystacalis)
Merida Flowerpiercer (Diglossa gloriosa)
Black Flowerpiercer (Diglossa humeralis)
Black-throated Flowerpiercer (Diglossa brunneiventris)
Grey-bellied Flowerpiercer (Diglossa carbonaria)
Venezuelan Flowerpiercer (Diglossa venezuelensis)
White-sided Flowerpiercer (Diglossa albilatera)
Scaled Flowerpiercer (Diglossa duidae)
Greater Flowerpiercer (Diglossa major)
Indigo Flowerpiercer (Diglossa indigotica)
Golden-eyed Flowerpiercer (Diglossa glauca)
Bluish Flowerpiercer (Diglossa caerulescens)
Masked Flowerpiercer (Diglossa cyanea)

Black Flowerpiercer by Keith Blomerley of a bird moving around in a bush.


I trust you are enjoying and being blessed by the “Formed by Him” series this week. To see more  articles – Click Here


The Gospel Message and the Wordless Birds