Atthis ellioti

Elliot’s Flame-bearer

Illustration not included in supplement volume

This species of Atthis represents in Guatemala the well-known Atthis heloisæ of Southern Mexico.

As Mr. Ridgway remarks in his original description, it may be immediately distinguished by the very different form of the outer primary, the redder and more uniform colour of the throat-gorget, and the shorter bill. The outer primary in A. ellioti is broad, with the end not attenuated; and the gorget is uniform purplish red without varying olivaceous tints, with the culmen 0·38–0:40; whereas in A. heloisæ the culmen measures 0·48–0·50, and the outer primary is very narrow, with the end abruptly attenuated, while the gorget is reddish violet, showing decided violet tints in certain lights.

These differences do not strike one as being very strongly pronounced; but as they appear to be constant, the Guatemalan species will henceforth be known as A. ellioti.

The specific characters of the adult male are thus given by Mr. Ridgway:—

Outer primary broad, the end not attenuated. Gorget uniform reddish purple (much as in Calypte annæ), without varying tints of violet as in A. heloisæ; jugulum wholly white; middle of the abdomen white; sides light rufous, slightly glossed with golden green; crissum white, tinged with light rufous. Upper parts metallic green, decidedly less golden than in A. heloisæ. Tail with the basal half (approximately) bright cinnamon-rufous, the subterminal portion black; three outer feathers on each side tipped with rusty white; the middle pair with the black portion above glossed with metallic green anteriorly. Wings uniform dusky, the smaller coverts metallic green. Wing 1·35 inch, tail 1·0–1·05.

I have not given a figure of this species, the differences detailed above being sufficient to distinguish it from A. heloisæ.


  • Selasphorus heloisæ, Scl. & Salv. (nec Less. & Delattre), Ibis, 1859, p. 129.—Salvin, Ibis, 1860, pp. 196, 266.
  • Aitthis heloisa (pt.), Baird, Brewer and Ridgway, Hist. North-Amer. Birds, ii. p. 465 (1874, spec. ex Guatemala).
  • Atthis ellioti, Ridgway, Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus. 1878, p. 9.—Elhot, Synopsis of the HummingBirds, p. 114 (1878).

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