Eupherusa poliocerca

Grey Stripetail

The present species was described by Mr. D. G. Elliot from a specimen procured by M. Eugéne Rébouch, a young collector for the well-known naturalist Mr. A. Boucard.

The type specimen, which still remains unique in Mr. Elliot’s collection, was obtained at Putla, in Western Mexico, on the Pacific slope.

There are three closely allied species in the genus Eupherusa, the differences between which are set forth by Mr. Elliot in his ‘Synopsis.’ In E. poliocerca the two central tail-feathers are light bronze-green, the lateral ones white margined with purplish grey. In the second species, E. eximia, the tail is dark greenish bronze, the two outermost feathers with the basal two thirds of the inner webs white; while the third, E. egregia, has the four central rectrices dark greenish bronze, the remainder white margined with black.

This species is most nearly allied to Eupherusa egregia, but can at once be distinguished from it, as well as all the other members of the genus, by its tail. In E. egregia the four centre tail-feathers are black, and the remainder are black at the tips; in the present species only the two median feathers are bronzy, all the remainder being as described above. This bird was obtained in a small collection of birds procured at Putla, in the western part of Mexico. This is the third species now known of the genus Eupherusa, which was for a long time only represented by E. eximia. The species are as follows:—E. eximia from Guatemala, E. egregia from Veragua, E. poliocerca from Putla, in Western Mexico. Two species named respectively E. cupreiceps and E. nigriventris have been allotted to this genus; but I think that they will hereafter be assigned to another genus, Thaumatias, to which they seem more naturally to belong.

Adult male.—Top of head and upper surface bronzy green; entire underparts brilliant grass-green. Wings purple; secondaries chestnut-red. Under tail-coverts pure white. Two central tail-feathers light bronze-green, purplish at the tips, remaining ones white, purplish grey on the edges of the outer webs and on the tips. Bill black; feet flesh-colour. Total length 3\(\frac{3}{4}\) inches, wing 2\(\frac{1}{2}\), tail 1\(\frac{5}{8}\), culmen \(\frac{3}{4}\) inch.

The female is at present unknown.

I have in the present case quoted largely from my friend Mr. Elliot’s work; but it was unavoidable, as there is absolutely nothing known of the species beyond the account which he has given of it.

The figures in the Plate represent males, of the natural size, drawn from the typical specimens lent to me by Mr. Elliot.


  • Eupherusa poliocerca, Klliot, Ann. & Mag. of Nat. Hist. 4th series, vol. viii. p. 266.— Mulsant, Hist. Nat. Ois.-Mouches, i. p. 271.—Sclater & Salv. Nomencel. Av. Neotr. p. 92 (1873).—Elliot, Synopsis of Trochilide, p. 212 (1879).

More hummingbirds in the genus Eupherusa

Poster preview

Get a poster

Featuring all 422 illustrated species from John Gould’s A Monograph of the Trochilidæ, or Family of Humming-Birds arranged by color.