Eriocnemis Aureliæ

Aurelia’s Puff-leg

New Granada and Ecuador

By far the greater number of the species of this well-defined genus have the puff-like feathers clothing the legs of a snowy whiteness; in one, however, the E. Derbyanus, they are black; and in the bird now under consideration they are parti-coloured, or brown and white.

I have seen examples of this species from various parts of the hilly districts of Columbia, over which country it appears to enjoy a wide range, and where it has been killed by M. Warszewicz and other collectors. Specimens from the neighbourhood of the River Napo have longer bills, and are altogether larger birds than those from Bogota; so great a similarity, however, otherwise exists between them, that, for the present, I shall consider them as merely distinct races or local varieties of one and the same species.

The Eriocnemis Aureliæ was first described by MM. Bourcier and Mulsant, from Bogota specimens, and I also figure a bird from the same district. These gentlemen state that they have named it Aureliæ in honour of the wife of M. Henon, Secretary-General of the Society of Agriculture, and one of the most distinguished naturalists of the City of Lyons.

But little difference occurs in the colouring of the sexes; the female, however, has the puff-like feathers of the legs of a smaller size, and whiter or less parti-coloured than those of the male; and the young has the lower part of the abdomen white.

Head, upper surface and wing-coverts dark bronzy green, the green hue predominating on the centre of the back, and a tinge of rufous on the head; wings purplish brown; upper tail-coverts dark coppery bronze; tail dark bluish black, with a bronzy lustre at the base; under surface bronzy green, very dark on the throat, and becoming gradually paler towards the vent, where the feathers are fringed with white; feathers of the thighs pale chestnut and white; under tail-coverts grass-green; bill brown, paler at the base of the under mandible.

The young bird of the first year has the head and neck coppery bronze; upper surface green; throat violaceous brown; lower part of the abdomen white; and the under tail-coverts grey, with a trace only of the green of the adult state.

The figures are of the natural size. The plant is the Marsdenia maculata.


  • Trochilus Aureliæ, Bourc. et Muls. Ann. de la Soc. des Sci. &c. de Lyon, 1846, p. 315, pl. not numbered.—lIb. Rev. Zool. 1846, p. 316.
  • Hylocharis Aureliæ, Gray and Mitch. Gen. of Birds, vol. i. p. 114, Hylocharis, sp. 8.
  • Eriopus aureliae, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av., p. 80, Eriopus, sp. 8.
  • Eriocnemys aurelia, Ib. Rev. et Mag. de Zool. 1854, p. 252.
  • Eriocnemis Aureliae, Reichenb. Aufz. der Colibris, p. 9.

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