Calothorax Jourdani

Jourdan’s Wood-star

The Island of Trinidad, where Mr. Tucker states that it frequents the chainae but is very rare.

If the Calothorax Jourdani and C. Rosæ are not one and the same species, they are certainly most nearly allied, the principal, if not the only difference between them being a slight variation in the colouring of their throat-marks, which in the latter is crimson, and in the former deep lilac or puce; in size and form, and in the colouring of their tails, the two birds are precisely similar.

This latter organ (the tail) is very peculiar, and differs from that of all other Humming-Birds, although there is a tendency to the same form among the other true members of the genus Calothorax. All the Humming-Birds I have ever seen have had ten tail-feathers; in some instances, however, certain of these feathers are so extremely small as to be almost obsolete; these are generally the central ones. In the present bird, and in Calothorax Rosæ, the outer feather is very short and sharp-pointed; the two next on each side are much longer and of equal length, while the four central ones are so short as to be almost hidden by the tail-coverts. In my specimens of these two nearly allied species, the bill of the C. Jourdani is rather longer than that of C. Rosæ; but whether this difference be constant or not Iam unable to say, having seen but a limited number of the former.

The Calothorax Jourdani has been named by M. Bourcier in honour of that very able zoologist, M. Jourdan, the Director of the Museum of Natural History at Lyons. It is a pity, however, that, if the practice of naming species after individuals, of which, as I have remarked in my account of C. Rosæ, I very much disapprove, is to be continued, so pretty a bird had not been named in honour of some lady who merited such a compliment; still in this instance it is very well bestowed, and I have much pleasure in transcribing the passage in which it is conferred in M. Bourcier’s own words:—

“Le nom de cette nouvelle espece rappelle celui d’un de nos collègues et compatriotes, M. Jourdan, qui vient de rendre d’importants services à la science. C’est a lui que notre ville doit organisation de sa belle galerie de zoologie, disposée d’après sa savante classification, qui a pour base le systeme nerveux. Plusieurs naturalistes nous ont déjà précédés dans l’hommage que nous nous plaisons a lui adresser aujourd’hui.

The male has the head, all the upper surface, wing- and tail-coverts, four centre tail-feathers, flanks and abdomen bronzy green; wings purple-brown; lateral tail-feathers purplish brown, with a stripe of sandy red down the centre of the basal half of the four longer ones; on the chin and throat a gorget of the richest deep lilac or puce, below which is a band of greyish white; bill black; feet brownish black.

The female has the whole of the upper surface, centre tail-feathers, wing-coverts and upper part of the flanks golden green; wings purplish brown; three outer tail-feathers on each side sandy buff, crossed obliquely by a broad mark of black; under surface buffy white, becoming of a deeper hue on the flanks.

The Plate represents both sexes of the size of life. The plant is the Oncidium incurvum.


  • Ornismya Jourdanii, Boure. Rev. Zool. 1839, p. 295.
  • Ornismya Jordani, Bourc. Ann. Soc. Sei. Phys. et Nat. Lyon, 1840, p. 227. pls. 5, 6.
  • Mellisuga Jourdani, Gray and Mitch. Gen. of Birds, vol. i. p. 118, Mellisuga, sp. 65.
  • Calothorax jourdani, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av., p. 85, Calothorax, sp. 6.
  • Calothorax Jourdani, Reich. Auf. der Col., p. 13.—Ib. Troch. Enum., p. 10.
  • Callothorax jourdani, Bonap. Rev. et Mag. de Zool. 1854, p. 257.
  • Chætocercus Jourdani, Gray, Cat. of Gen. and Sub-Gen. of Birds in Brit. Mus., p. 22, no. 349.

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