Cephalepis Delalandi

De Lalande’s Plover-crest

Southern Brazil

The southern portion of Brazil is the true habitat of this graceful species of Humming-Bird, which was first discovered by MM. Delalande and Meénétrier, to the former of whom it has been dedicated.

Mr. Reeves informs me that it inhabits Rio de Janeiro, Minas Geraes, and Santa Catherina, but he was unaware whether it remains in those provinces all the year or not.

The lengthened crest, which adds so much to the beauty and elegance of the Cephalepis Delalandi, terminates in a single elongated plume,—a very remarkable circumstance, since the feathers of birds are usually arranged in pairs.

I possess two nests of this species, one of which was kindly forwarded to me by Mr. Reeves of Rio de Janeiro. One is of a much more lengthened form than the other, but both are composed of the same materials, namely fine fibrous roots, moss, lichens, and involucres of a composite plant, the whole matted together with spiders’ webs of so fine a kind that they are almost imperceptible; both had been suspended among the fine twigs of a species of Bamboo.

A marked difference occurs in the colouring of the sexes, the lengthened glittering crest and rich azureblue breast which render the male so conspicuous, being wholly wanting in the female.

The male has the forehead, crown, and shorter feathers of the crest glittering grass-green; lengthened crest-plume black; upper surface and wing-coverts shining green with bronzy reflexions; behind the eye a small spot of white; wings purplish brown; central tail-feathers green; the remainder greenish at the base, passing into black near the end, and fading at the tip to greyish white; on the lateral feathers the extent of the greenish hue lessens as the feathers recede from the centre; chin, sides of the chest, flanks and under tail-coverts brownish grey; centre of the throat, breast and abdomen intense shining violet-blue; under tail-coverts grey, glossed with green; bill black.

The female has the head and upper surface green with bronzy reflexions, a mark of white behind the eye; all the under surface dull greyish brown; central tail-feathers golden green, the remainder green at the base, passing into dull black, the outer one largely and the remainder slightly tipped with white.

The figures represent a male, a female, and a nest, of the natural size.


  • Trochilus Delalandi, Vieill. Nouv. Dict. d’Hist. Nat. 2nde Edit., tom. xxiii. p. 427, pl. G 36. fig. 3.—Ib. Eney. Méth. Orn., part . p. 558.—Ib. Ois. dor., tom. iii. ined. plz: —Temm. Pl. Col. 18. fig. 1, 2.—Valene. Dict. Sci. Nat., tom. xxxv. p. 492.— Drapiez, Dict. Class. d’Hist. Nat., tom. iv. p. 322.—Less. Man. d’Om., tom. ii. p. 76.—Ib. Ind. Gen. et Syn. du Gen. Trochilus, p. xxx.—Swains. Birds of Brazil, pl. 22.—Jard. Nat. Lib. Humming Birds, vol. i. p. 101. pl. 10; vol. i. p: 99. pl. 7.
  • Ornismya Delalandi, Less. Hist. Nat. des Ois. Mou., p. 95. pls. 23 & 24; Supp. p. 136. pl. 19. —Ib. Les Troch., p. 113. pl. 41.
  • Trochilus versicolor, Vieill. Nouv. Dict. d’ Hist. Nat., tom. xxiii. p. 480.—Ib. Ois. dor., tom. iii. ined. pl. 12.—Ib. Ency. Méth. Orn., part ii. p. 560.
  • Mellisuga Delalandi, Gray and Mitch. Gen. of Birds, vol. i. p. 114, Mellisuga, sp. 99.
  • Cephalepis lalandi, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av., p. 83, Cephalepis, sp. 1.—Ib. Consp. Troch. in Rev. et Mag. de Zool. 1854, p. 256.

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