Eucephala smaragdo-cærulea

Green and Blue Sapphire

Brazil, from Rio de Janeiro towards the interior

It is to Mr. Reeves of Rio de Janeiro that I am indebted for a specimen of this rare species of HummingBird, of which I have as yet seen but two examples; the one in my own collection, and another in that of M. Verreaux of Paris.

Mr. Reeves states that the bird inhabits Novo Friburgo, and that the specimen he sent me was killed on the skirts of the virgin forest. This species forms another link in the chain of evidence which assures us that many new Humming-Birds are yet to be found in the far-distant and unexplored interior of the great country of Brazil; for if we find so fine a bird as the present inhabiting a district but a short distance from the capital, where man is widely spread and daily engaged in collecting specimens, no doubt many other species will be discovered when the country is more closely searched.

It will be seen that I first described this species in the ‘Proceedings of the Zoological Society’ for 1860, and that I therein proposed for it the generic term of Augasma; in the present work, however, I retain it under the name of Eucephala. We really have not sufficient examples of this and one or two other nearly allied Humming-Birds to enable us to determine whether they should be generically separated or not.

This elegantly formed bird is about the size of Thalurania furcata; it is therefore a rather large species. Those who are acquainted with the T. chlorocephala of M. Bourcier will find in this a very near ally; I have not the least doubt, however, of its being quite distinct. In M. Verreaux’s specimen the white tippings of the outer tail-feathers are nearly obsolete, while in mine they are conspicuous; in my specimen, also, the two middle tail-feathers are marked with green on their upper surface, while in M. Verreaux’s (which I believe to be an older bird than mine) these feathers are uniform in colour throughout.

Having only seen two specimens, I cannot of course say whether the sexes offer any difference in the colouring of their plumage and other external characters.

Crown of the head and throat glittering greenish blue, imperceptibly passing into the glittering green of the breast; back of the neck and upper surface golden green; upper tail-coverts grass-green; under tailcoverts green, inclining to purple on some of the feathers; thighs brown; tail bluish black, the two outer feathers on each side slightly tipped with white; bill black, with the exception of the basal half of the under mandible, which is flesh-colour.

The figures are of the natural size. The plant is the Lepageria rosea.


  • Augasma smaragdineum, Gould in Proc. of Zool. Soc., part xxviii. p. 305.

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