Bourcieria torquata

Collared Inca

Columbia. Common in the temperate regions round Bogota.

The present is one of the best-known species of the well-defined Andean genus of Humming Birds, to which the Prince Charles Lucien Bonaparte has given the appellation of Bourcieria, in order to assist in perpetuating the name of a gentleman familiar to every naturalist, as the possessor of one of the finest collections of the Trochilidæ in Europe, and who, by his personal researches in South America, has added largely to our knowledge of this charming group.

Speaking in a wide sense, the high lands of the great country of Columbia is the native habitat of this fine species. Most of the collections from Bogota and Popayan contain examples. Mr. Mark tells me that it frequents the Paramos or upland grassy districts, and that it extracts its food from the blossoms of the shrubby plants common to such localities, the wild Guava being always resorted to when in flower.

Judging from the large size of its wings and its general contour, we may conclude that, like its allies, its powers of flight are very great.

It will be seen that the colours of the male are very decided, the white breast of the fully adult birds offering a striking contrast to the jet-black of the surrounding plumage. The female is much smaller than the male, and although dressed in a somewhat similar style of plumage, the markings are never so well defined, the blue crown is absent, the white gorget is less pure, and the surrounding plumage obscure green instead of black.

The male has the forehead, back of the neck, mantle, ear-coverts, and sides of the face, black with green reflexions; on the centre of the crown a nearly triangular mark of blue; shoulders, spurious wing, the three innermost secondaries, back and upper tail-coverts deep grass-green; chin and throat black, each feather tipped with greenish blue; on the breast a broad gorget of pure white; abdomen black, with reflexions of green on the tips of the feathers; thighs black; tarsi white; toes yellowish rose-colour; wings purplish brown; two centre tail-feathers dark olive-green, the remainder pure white tipped with dark olivegreen, and extending down the external margin of the outer feather for three-fourths of its length; bill black.

The female has the head and upper surface bronzy grass-green; no blue on the crown; wings and tail as in the male; the throat white speckled with green, and the white gorget dull and clouded.

The figures are of the natural size; the plant is a species of Brugmansia, common in the country frequented by the birds.


  • Ornismia torquata, Boiss. Rey. Zool. 1840, p. 6.
  • Mellisuga torquata, Gray and Mitch. Gen. of Birds, vol. i. p. 112, Mellisuga, sp. 12.
  • Bourcieria torquatus, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av., p. 73, Bourcieria, sp. 2.
  • Bourcieria torquata, Bonap. Consp. Troch. in Rev. et Mag. de Zool. 1854, p. 251.

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