Eucephala cærulea

Blue-chinned Sapphire

Eastern and Northern Brazil (Chamicuros, Hauxwell), the Guianas, Venezuela, Trinidad, and Tobago.

This species is known to scientific ornithologists by two specific names—cærulea and Audeberti; the former of which, having the priority, is the one adopted in the present work.

The Eucephala cærulea may be stated to be one of the very commonest of the Trochilidz, hundreds, nay thousands, being annually sent to Europe, and mounted under glass shades for ornamental purposes. As may be supposed, these great numbers do not all come from the same source: some are sent from Brazil, others from Cayenne, and others from the island of Trinidad. I must here remark that there are two very wellmarked varieties of this bird, indicated by the greater or lesser amount of blue on the throat; in all other respects they closely assimilate. ‘The countries favourable to the existence of the variety with the deep blue colouring of the chin—the one figured on the accompanying Plate—are, French Guiana, Cayenne, Para, and the islands of Tobago and Trinidad; while the Antilles, Venezuela, and the borders of the Chamacures, a tributary of the Amazon on the eastern dip of the Andes, are as favourable to the other. The specimens I possess from the latter locality were procured by Mr. Hauxwell, while my Venezuelan examples were collected by the late Mr. Dyson.

Mr. William Tucker informs me that in Trinidad it is principally found in the large woods, but is sometimes met with in the more open parts of the country and on the pasture lands; and that it frequents flowers of all kinds, but appears to be especially partial to those of the Bois immortel.

Mr. Reeves states, that though this species is common at Bahia it is very rare in the province of Rio de Janeiro.

The nest and eggs of this bird have been figured by M. Bourcier in the fifth volume of the “Annales des Sciences Physiques, &c., de Lyon,” and is accompanied by the following description:—

Ce nid représente un demi-ovale obliquement coupé; il est formé d’un mélange du duvet cotonneux que contiennent les capsules du fromager à fruit rond (Bombax globosum), et de celui que fournit le Baobab (Adansonia digitata), vulgairement appellé Pain de singe. Sa paroi externe, à laquelle adhèrent quelques corps étrangers, est recouverte d’un léger réseau de fils d’araignées.

Ce nid était plaqué vers l’extrémité de la page inférieure d’une feuille de Bambou, dont la plicature lui offrait un abri contre les rayons du soleil et contre la pluie. Dans sa cavité se trouvaient deux ceufs blancs et de forme cylindrique.

The Eucephala cærulea is a bird of great beauty, and differs from most others in the depth of the green colouring of the chest and under surface, which it is quite impossible to represent inadrawing. The female differs in the lighter colouring of the green of the upper surface and in the almost white throat and abdomen, the former, however, as well as the flanks, being beautifully spotted with glittering green; the outer tailfeathers also of this sex are tipped with greyish-white.

The male has the crown and sides of the head, the upper surface of the body, wing- and tail-coverts deep grass-green; wings dark purplish-brown; tail dark steel-blue, with green reflexions; chin a deep shining blue; all the under surface dark glittering green; upper mandible dark brown; under mandible reddish flesh-colour.

The female has the head and all the upper surface bronzy-green; wings and tail as in the male, except that the outer feather of the latter is tipped with grey; under surface white, with a spot of glittering green at the tips of the feathers of the throat and flanks; under tail-coverts green.

The figures in the accompanying Plate are intended to represent the sexes of the size of life, on a plant the botanical name of which is Eugenia Brasiliensis.


  • Trochilus cæruleus, Vieill. Nouv. Dict. d’Hist. Nat., tom. vii. p. 361.—Ib. Ency. Méth. Orn part 2. p. 563.
  • L’Oiseau-mouche à gosier bleu, Aud. et Vieill. Ois. dor., tom. i. p. 82. pl. 40.—Sonn. Edit. Buff. Hist. Nat. des Ois., tom. liii. p. 829.—Ib. Sonn. Edit., tom. xvii. p. 186.
  • Ornismya Audebertii, Less. Hist. Nat. des Ois. Mou., pp. xxx, 164. pl. 51.—Ib. Traité d’Orn., p. 281.—Ib. Ind. Gen. et Syn. des Ois. du Gen. Trochilus, p. xxxvii.—Boure. Ann. de la Soc. Sci. de Lyon, tom. v. 1842, p. 310. pl. 16.
  • Hylocharis cærulea, Gray and Mitch. Gen. of Birds, vol. i. p. 114, Hylocharis, sp. 34.
  • Hylocharis cœruleus, Bonap. Rev. et Mag. de Zool. 1854, p. 255.
  • Thaumatias caeruleus, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av., p. 78, Thaumatias, sp. 12.
  • Chlorestes coerulea, Reich. Aufz. der Col., p. 7.

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