Diphogena Iris


Andes of Bolivia, between Sorata and Illinani. The locality given me by M. Warszewicz is the province of Huancabamba au Cordilera Solaio, 9000 feet.

During the last two years it has been my good fortune to obtain so many extraordinary species of Humming Birds from the hitherto almost untrodden parts of Peru, that I am quite at a loss for suitable expressions wherewith to describe their beauty, as will, I am sure, be apparent to my readers if they will take even the most transient glance at the Plates intended to represent this and some of the other species I have lately attempted to depict, among which no one is more brilliant than the Diphogena Iris.

It is to the indefatigable perseverance of M. Warszewicz that we are indebted for our knowledge of this new bird, to which the name of Iris has been given, with the view of conveying some idea of the hues with which it is decorated; but beautiful as are the tints of the heavenly rainbow, they fall far short of the gorgeously brilliant colours of this bird’s crest.

It will be seen that I have made the present bird the type of a new genus, to which future research in the rich provinces of Peru will doubtless add other species. The same means of information must also show whether the bird I have called Aurora, and another which at present I refrain from naming, are, or are not, the young males or females of the bird here represented, or if they be two other distinct species; my belief is that the latter will prove to be the case, but as yet I have not sufficient data to determine this point; I need scarcely say that I shall keep the subject in view, and communicate the information I may obtain as soon as received.

Feathers of the forehead and crown of the most resplendent brilliancy, those of the forehead green on the sides, glossed with gold in the centre; on the crown the feathers are divided into three portions, those on each side being rich orange-scarlet, and the centre equally rich blue; throat, neck and chest glittering grass-green, with a small gorget of purplish blue in the centre of the former; back of the neck velvety black; wing-coverts and spurious wing bronzy brown; wings purplish brown, the feathers nearest the body, lower part of the back, under surface, upper and under tail-coverts, and tail, chestnut-red.

The figures are of the natural size.


  • Helanthea Iris, Gould in Proc. of Zool. Soe. 1853, p. 61; Reported in Athenzeum April 16, 1853.
  • Helanthea iris, Bonap. Consp. Troch. in Rev. et Mag. de Zool. 1854, p. 251.

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