Campylopterus Pampa

Wedge-tailed Sabre-wing


The cuneate form of the tail of this species of Campylopterus renders it very remarkable, not only among the members of its own genus, but among the Trochitdæ in general, for there are but few besides the present bird which display this peculiarity.

Were I to be influenced by the form of the tail alone, I might be induced to constitute it the type of a distinct genus; but, as I can discover no other character that would bear me out in so doing, I content myself, for the present at least, by retaining it in the genus to which it has hitherto been assigned. Dr. Reichenbach has indeed founded one under the name of Pampa for its reception, but I hesitate, for the reason just given, in adopting it.

The native country of the Campylopterus Pampa is Mexico and Central America; in the former of which countries specimens were procured by M. De Lattre. I have also received it, through Mr. Skinner, from Guatemala. In a brief notice of it by M. De Lattre, that gentleman states that it mhabits the densest forests during the whole of the year; that it is very wild and unsociable; that it is fond of singing; and were its song not monotonous it might be regarded as the Nightingale of the Trochitdæ. It is found in the environs of Taupetta, in Mexico.

The sexes, as far as I have seen, are nearly alike in colour, while in size a more than ordinary difference exists, the female being very much smaller than her mate; both have a blue-coloured crown, but the outer tail-feathers of the female are tipped with dirty white instead of being of a uniform colour.

The male has the head fine blue; all the upper surface and wing-coverts green; wings purplish brown; four central tail-feathers dark bronzy green; lateral tail-feathers dark bluish black, glossed with bronzy green at the base; ear-coverts brown; all the under surface dull greyish white, washed with buff on the throat; bill black; feet brown.

The female is similar in colour, but has the three outer tail-feathers tipped with buffy white.

The Plate represents the two sexes of the natural size. The plant is the Neptunia plena.


  • Ornismya Pampa, Less. Supp. des Ois mou., p. 127. pl. 15.—Ib. Rev. Zool. 1839, p. 18.
  • Polytmus pampa, Gray and Mitch. Gen. of Birds, vol. i. p. 107, Polytmus, sp. 7.
  • Campylopterus pampa, Less. Ind. Gen. et Syn. des Ois. du Genre Trochilus, p. viBonap. Consp. Gen. Av., p. 71, Campylopterus, sp. 6.—Ib. Rev. et Mag. de Zool. 1854, p. 250.
  • Pampa campyloptera, Reichenb. Aufz. der Colibris, p. 11.

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