Calliphlox Mitchelli

Mitchell’s Amethyst

Southern parts of New Granada and Ecuador

When M. Bourcier was in England in 1847, he solicited the privilege of minutely examining the collection of Humming-Birds formed by the late Mr. George Loddiges of Hackney; not only was this privilege granted him, but he was also permitted to describe any of the novelties contained therein.

In selecting the specific appellations for these, M. Bourcier embraced the opportunity of dedicating the new species (ten or twelve in number) to the more promiment living naturalists of our country; several of those, whose names have thus been handed down to posterity, associated with the beautiful gems of Nature I have attempted to illustrate, have since paid the debt of nature, and departed from among us. Spence, Yarrell, Doubleday, and Mitchell are all names familiar to every British naturalist; the last especially so, for his great zeal in the promotion of natural history, and by whose premature death both science and art have lost one of their truest votaries. His personal friends cannot but cast a mournful look upon the many evidences which remain of his intellectual tastes and acquirements.

As far as is yet known, only two specimens of the Calliphlox Mitchelli have been procured; of these (both of which are males), one is contained in the Loddigesian, the other in my own collection. The locality given for Mr. Loddiges’ specimen is Zimapan; my own was collected in the neighbourhood of Popayan.

This rare bird is allied in the character of its colouring to the Calliphlox Amethystina, and in that of its tail to Calothorax Fanniæ.

Head, all the upper surface, wing- and tail-coverts, flanks, abdomen, and under tail-coverts dark oil-green; throat, sides of the neck, and breast deep violet, below which is a broad crescentic mark of dull grey; tail dark purplish brown; on the sides of the flanks, near the back, an oblong patch of buff; bill black; feet dark brown.

The figures are of the natural size. The plant is the Listanthus acutangulus.


  • Trochilus Mitchelli, Boure. in Proce. of Zool. Soc., part xv. p. 47.—Ib. Rev. Zool. 1847, p. 259.
  • Mellisuga Mitchelli, Gray and Mitch. Gen. of Birds, vol. i. p. 113, Mellisuga, sp. 74.
  • Calothorax Mitchelli, Reichenb. Auf. der Col., p. 13.
  • Tryphana mitchelli, Bonap. Rev. et Mag. de Zool. 1854, p. 257.

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