Amazilia pristina


The neighbourhood of Lima in Peru

In his description of this species, Lesson says, “Peru, like Brazil, possesses Humming-birds peculiarly its own,” and adds, “the name given to this bird will not only recall to our imagination one of the heroines celebrated by Marmontel in his ‘Incas,’ but also the country in which it lives.”

It is, indeed, peculiar to Peru, and is exceedingly common in the neighbourhood of the far-famed city of the Sun—Lima. It is one of the largest and most powerful species of the genus Amazilia, and may be regarded as the type of a form to which no less than six generic appellations have been assigned. The specific name of latirostris applied to this bird by Prince Charles L. Bonaparte and Dr. Reichenbach cannot be retained, as the latirostris of Swainson, which they have imagined to be the same, is a bird of a totally different form.

I possess numerous examples of this species, none of which present sufficient differences to suggest any positive determination of their sex.

“Elle n’est point rare,” says M. Lesson, “dans les buissons du littoral du Perou, qu’elle frequente le soir et le matin. Comme tous l’oiseaux-mouches, l’Amazili est toujours en mouvement, et vole de fleurs en fleurs en bourdonnant.”

Crown of the head and upper surface greenish-bronze, changing into bronzy-red on the lower part of the back and upper tail-coverts; wings purplish-brown, glossed with bronze; tail chestnut-red, glossed on the central feathers with bronze; throat and chest white, with a crescent of glittering green at the tip of each feather; centre of the breast white; under surface sandy-red; vent and under tail-coverts white, the former washed with rufous.

The figures are of the natural size. The plant is the Befaria estuans.


  • Orthorhynchus Amazili, Less. Voy. de la Coq., Ois., pl. 31. fig. 3.
  • Ormsmya amazili, Less. Hist. Nat. des Ois. Mou., pp. xxvii, 67. pls. 12, 13.—Ib. Traité d’Orn., p. 280.—Ib. Man. d’Orn., tom. ii. p. 81.—Ib. Ind. Gen. et Syn. des Ois. du gen. Trochilus, p. xxvii.
  • Polytmus Amazili, Gray and Mitch. Gen. of Birds, vol. i. p. 108, Polytmus, sp. 70.
  • Trochilus Amazilia, Tschudi, Consp. Av., no. 206.—Ib. Faun. Peruana, p. 39.
  • Amazilius latirostris, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av., p. 77, Amazilius, sp. 1.—Ib. Rev. et Mag. de Zool. 1854, p. 254.
  • Amazilia latirostris, Reich. Aufz. der Col., p. 10.

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