Agyrtria taczanowskii

Taczanowski’s Emerald

This species was described by Dr. Sclater from a specimen procured by Stolzmann at Guajango, in Peru.

It is allied to Agyrtria viridiceps of Gould, but has a much stronger bill and an even tail, and the spots on the throat are much smaller. Mr. Stolzmann met with the species both at Guajango and Calacate. At the latter place, he writes, “it is common, visiting the male flowers of the banana trees. It affects the same places as Cyanomyia cyanicollis. When perching on the dry leaves of the bananas it utters its song, composed of couplets in four tones, three or four times repeated in succession. Often when I have been working in front of my door, one of these Hamming-birds has come to catch the mosquitoes, which are very abundant in that locality. As I stood still, the bird came so close to me that I could feel the wind on my face, produced by the vibration of its wing. I thus had the opportunity of observing the manner in which it seized the mosquitoes, and I am astonished to see that Burmeister denies this habit in the Humming-birds.

“At Guajango, in the valley of the Marañon, this species is rare, but I have seen it several times about the flowers of the Agave.”

Dr. Taczanowski further adds that a specimen is in Dr. Raimondi’s collection from Paucal. Count von Berlepsch believes that the species ought to be separated generically, as its form differs widely from that of the members of the genus Agyrtria.

The following is a translation of Dr. Sclater’s original description:—

More metallic green, with a coppery gloss on the head; the feathers ashy underneath; wings dusky, the coverts like the back; the tail equal, uniform with the back, with a coppery tinge towards the tip, underneath dusky, coppery green towards the tip; the under surface of the body white, washed with pale ashy ou the sides, and especially on the vent; the whole of the throat covered with tiny heart-shaped spots of shining green; the bill strong and slightly curved.

[R. B. S.]


  • Thaumasius taczanowskii, Sclater, Proc. Zool. Soc. 1879, p. 146. —Tacz. tom. cit. p. 239.-—Id. Proce. Zool. Soc. 1880, p. 208.
  • Leucolia taczanowskii, Eudes-Deslongchamps, Cat. Deser. Trochil. i. p. 301.
  • Thaumatias taczanowskii, Tacz. Orn. Pérou, i. p. 405 (1884).
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