Aphantochroa cirrhochloris

Sombre Humming-bird


While the greater number of the Trochilidæ are characterized by a splendid style of plumage, there are others, as will be seen on reference to the present Plate, in which these features are wanting; to most persons these sombre-coloured birds will be less pleasing than their more gaily attired congeners, but they are equally interesting in the eyes of the naturalist.

In its general structure, this simply attired bird, which I believe is never adorned with any luminous colouring, offers a considerable alliance to the Campylopteri; but as the peculiar dilatation of the shafts of the outer primaries is entirely absent, I have separated it from a group of which I formerly considered it a member, and have made it the type of a new genus—Aphantochroa.

I have received numerous examples from various parts of Brazil, Pernambuco, Bahia, and the neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro, where Mr. Reeves states it is very common, and where it evinces a great predilection for the flowers of the Banana.

As I have not been able satisfactorily to distinguish the one sex from the other, I am led to believe that they do not differ externally.

Head and all the upper surface dark grass-green; wings purplish brown; tail dark purple-brown, glossed with bronze, especially on the two central feathers; throat and breast grey, glossed with green; abdomen greyish brown, crossed just above the vent by a band of white; bill black; feet olive-yellow.

In some specimens the upper surface is bronzy green; the tail of a darker purple, and the under surface of an olive-green, instead of grey glossed with green.

The figures are of the natural size.


  • Trochilus cirrochloris, Vieill. Nouv. Dict. d’Hist. Nat. 2nde Edit., tom. xxiii. p. 480.—Ib. Eney. Méth. Orn., part ii. p. 560.
  • Ormsmya simplex, Less. Hist. Nat. des Ois. Mou., p. 119. pl. 33.—Ib. Hist. Nat. des Col., p. 111.—Supp. des Ois. Mou., pl. 6.
  • Polytmus cirrochloris, Gray and Mitch. Gen. of Birds, vol. i. p. 107, Polytmus, sp. 4.
  • Trochilus campylostylus, Licht. Verz. der Doubl., p. 14.
  • Campylopterus cirrhochloris, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av., p. 71, Campylopterus, sp. 8.

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