Chlorostilbon Poortmanni

Poortman’s Emerald

New Granada

If the term insignificant should ever be applied to this bird, it certainly cannot be employed when speaking of the lovely plant figured on the accompanying Plate.

Now it may be asked, if the bird and the plant are ever in such close juxtaposition as I have represented them; to which I reply, that in all probability they are, though I have no actual evidence that such is the case; I know that the Humming-Birds examine individually most of the plants in the regions they frequent, whether in the woods or savannahs, and the chances are, therefore, that the Victoria regia is not unvisited by this bird during its peregrinations.

No one member of this little group of Humming-Birds is so diminutive as the present species, whose short tail, composed of ten narrow feathers, will at all times serve to distinguish it from its allies, the nearest of which is the Chlorostilbon Aliciæ. Both species inhabit the same part of America,—that is, Columbia and the country immediately to the eastward. We often receive examples from Bogota; indeed it may be said that all, or nearly all, the specimens sent to this country and to France are from thence. The same difference occurs in the colouring of the sexes of both species; the females having the under surface grey, instead of glittering green. The young males are all intermediate in their style of colouring, but have larger tails than the female.

Head golden orange; all the upper surface, wing- and tail-coverts reddish bronzy green; wings purplish brown; tail dark bronzy green, both on the upper and under surface; all the under surface, including the under tail-coverts, dull bronzy green; bill black; feet dark brown.

The female has the upper surface similarly coloured to that of the male, but far less brilliant; the under surface grey; the wings purplish brown; the centre tail-feathers green; the remainder green at the base, passing into black near the extremity, and tipped with greyish; under tail-coverts greyish brown.

The young male is similar to the female, but has the under surface spangled with golden green.

The Plate represents a male and a female of the natural size.


  • Ornismya Poortman, Bourc. in Rev. Zool. 1843, p. 2.
  • Hylocharis Portmanni, Gray and Mitch. Gen. of Birds, vol. i. p. 115, Hylocharis, sp. 48.—Sclat. in Proc. of Zool. Soc., part xxii. p. 141.
  • Hylocharis portman, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av., p. 74, Hylocharis, sp. 11.
  • Chlorestes Poortmanni, Reichenb. Auf. der Col., p. 7.
  • Chlorostilbon poortmani, Bonap. Rev. et Mag. de Zool. 1854, p. 255.

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