Eupetomena hirundo

Western Swallow-tail

I was indebted to Mr. Henry Whitely for the opportunity of describing, through the ‘Annals and Magazine of Natural History,’ this fine species of Humming-bird, which is very similar to the Eupetomena macroura, and is the western representative of that bird on the great continent of South America.

The present bird differs from E. macroura by having a shorter tail, the feathers of which are broader and less rigid; the wing, on the other hand, is larger and longer. In colour, while E. macroura is always blue on the head and breast, the new species is,distinguished by these parts being washed with green.

Mr. Whitely found numbers of this bird flying over the open plains in pursuit of insects. He says that they “rarely approach a flower, but appear to take their food hawking about in the air in the manner of Swallows—in fact, at first sight might be easily mistaken for those birds.” He procured the species at Huiro, in the Valley of Santa Ana, Peru, at an elevation of 4800 feet.

Head and throat deep blue, with a wash of green on the crown; body both above and beneath green; wings, tail, and under-coverts steel-bluish black; bill jet-black.

The female is similarly coloured to the male; but the outer shaft of the wing is not enlarged as in the male, where the stem of this feather is dilated as in the genus Campylopterus. Total length 6\(\frac{1}{2}\) inches, bill \(\frac{3}{4}\), wing 3\(\frac{1}{8}\), tail 3\(\frac{1}{2}\).

In the Plate I have given representations of a male in two different positions, drawn from the type specimen in my cabinet.


  • Eupetomena hirundo, Gould, Ann. & Mag. Nat. Hist. (4) xvi. p. 370 (1875).—Scelater & Salv. Proc. Zool. Soc. 1876, p. 18.—Elliot, Synopsis of the Humming-Birds, p. 22 (1878).—Eudes-Deslongchamps, Annuaire Mus. d’Hist. Nat. Caen, i. p. 1438 (1881).

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