Catharma othura

Lesson’s Flame-bearer

Illustration not included in supplement volume

This species remained in obscurity till the year 1876, when Mr. Elliot, having acquired the types for his collection, identified it as a perfectly distinct form of Humming-bird, and made it the type of a new genus, having the form of an Atthis but the plumage of a Calliphlox.

His remarks on the species in ‘The Ibis’ must be consulted by any one wishing to understand the history of the species.

The following is Mr, Elliot’s account of the typical specimens in his collection:—

Adult male. Entire upper parts dark shining grass-green. Behind the eye a small white spot. Throat metallic amethystine red, rather dull, beneath which is a band of greyish white extending up the sides of the neck; rest of underparts grey, tinged with green, lightest in the centre of the abdomen. Median rectrices bronze-green, lateral ones green at base, rest black, with a faint indication of white at the tip. Wings purplish brown. Bill black. Total length 2\(\frac{5}{8}\) inches, wing 1\(\frac{3}{8}\), tail \(\frac{7}{8}\), culmen \(\frac{5}{8}\).

Young male. Above golden green. Throat white, spotted with metallic red, and bounded beneath with a band of green, followed by another of white. Underparts deep buff, washed with green in lower part of breast. Middle rectrices bronze-green, lateral ones green at base, rest black, tipped with white.

Adult female. Above dark green. LEar-coverts, cheeks, and a line around lower part of the throat blackish brown. Throat white, spotted with brown. A band of white across the breast, beneath which is another of dark brown. Rest of underparts rufous. . Central rectrices bronze-green, lateral ones bronzegreen, with an apical black band. Under tail-coverts pale bronze-green, margined with grey. Wings purple. Bill and feet black. Dimensions as in the male.

[R. B. S.]


  • Ornismyia orthura, Lesson, Hist. Nat. Trochilid. pp. 86, 88, pls. 28, 29 (1831).
  • Trochilus orthurus, Reichenb. Aufz. der Colibri, p. 12 (1853).—Trochil. Enum. p. 10 (1855).
  • Tryphena orthura, Bp. Rev. et Mag. de Zool. 1854, p. 257.
  • Catharma orthura, Elliot, Ibis, 1876, p. 400.—Mulsant, Hist. Nat. Oiseaux-Mouches, iy. p. 66 (1877).—Elliot, Synopsis of the Humming-Birds, p. 112 (1878).
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