Chrysuronia chrysura



With the exception of a single specimen from Brazil, all the examples of this species in my collection are from Peru.

I mention this because Lesson, in the Supplement to his ‘Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux Mouches’ above referred to, gives Brazil as its sole habitat. In all probability the bird inhabits the same degree of latitude in both countries. I do not, however, believe that it ever flies so far west as to come within the colonized portions of Brazil. In the vast trackless forests and savannahs which occur towards the eastern confines of that country, there doubtless exist many species of birds and quadrupeds common to this and the adjacent countries of Peru and Bolivia, and among them probably the present species, which may, perhaps, account for a solitary specimen of it now and then reaching us by way of Rio de Janeiro. It was from that city, through the kindness and liberality of Thomas Reeves, Esq., that my Brazilian specimen was received.

The Chrysurona chrysura is not characterized by any great brilliancy of colouring; in fact, with the exception of its luminous golden tail, the entire plumage is of a very sombre cast, not easy to depict.

My own Plate gives a tolerably accurate representation of the bird: that of Lesson, I regret to say, is not a good one, and very apt to lead us astray as to the identification of the species.

The sexes offer but little difference in their colouring, but I believe the female may at all times be known by the obscure tipping of grey on the two outer tail-feathers.

Head, all the upper surface, wings, and tail-coverts of a golden hue, inclining to brown on the head; wings purplish brown; tail of a very rich golden lustre both above and beneath; chin buff; under surface grey, washed with a golden hue, which is richest on the flanks; vent and thighs white; under tail-coverts grey, with a slight golden lustre; the bill appears to have been fleshy red at the base of both mandibles and dark at the tip.

The Plate represents two males and a female of the natural size. The plant is the Dremys Winteri.


  • Ornismya chrysura, Less. Hist. Nat. des Ois.-Mou., Supp. p. 107. pl. 4.—Ib. Ind. Gen. et Syn. des Ois. du Gen. Trochilus, p. xl.
  • Chrysuronia chrysura, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av., p. 75, Chrysuronia, sp. 2.—Reichenb. Auf. der Col., p. 9.—Bonap. Rev. et Mag. de Zool. 1854, p. 254.
  • Polytmus chrysura, Gray and Mitch. Gen. of Birds, vol. i. p. 109, Polytmus, sp. 81.

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