Eustephanus Fernandensis

Cinnamon Fire Crown

Juan Fernandez

Familiar as is the name of the island of Juan Fernandez to every one, it is not, I believe, generally known, that almost the only feathered inhabitants which enliven this isolated spot are three beautiful species of Humming Birds, viz. Eustephanus Fernandensis, E. Stokesi, and E. galeritus; of these, the present bird is the largest in size, and is moreover rendered peculiarly conspicuous, not only among its immediate congeners, but amidst the entire family, by the uniform cinnamon hue of its plumage, relieved alone by the flame-coloured crown.

Captain P. P. King, R.N., was the first who brought specimens to Europe, and gave a name to the bird; consequently, the term Fernandensis, proposed by him, has the priority over those of cinnamomea and Robinson, bestowed by the French naturalists Gervais and Lesson.

From about 1825, when Captain King procured his examples, up to the present time, 1854, no additional specimens had been received; Mr. Bridges, however, has recently visited Juan Fernandez, and the result of his explorations is the transmission of thirty fine specimens. These are all precisely alike; are we then to conclude that they are all males, or, that both sexes, when adult, are alike in colour, and the female decorated with the brilliant crown as well as the male? I have seen one specimen in which the brilliant crown was absent, but I had no means of ascertaining whether this was a young male, or a female; judging from analogy, I should have supposed that the females were destitute of this ornament, and if so, all the specimens sent by Mr. Bridges must be males.

Mr. Cuming informs me, that so fearless of man is this fine bird, that a gun is not necessary to procure examples, as it approaches so close that it may be readily killed with a stick.

Forehead and crown metallic fiery red; the entire plumage of the body and the tail-feathers deep cinnamon-red; wing-coverts the same, the lesser ones glossed with green and the greater passing into purple at the tip; spurious wing green; primaries and secondaries purplish brown; vent buffy white; bill black.

The figures represent the bird of the natural size, on the Thyrsopteris elegans of Kunze, a tree-fern of the island of Juan Fernandez.


  • Trochilus Fernandensis, King in Proc. of Comm. of Sci. and Corr. of Zool. Soc., part i. p. 30.
  • Ormsmya cinnamomea, Gerv. Mag. de Zool., tom. v., Ois. pl. 43.
  • Ormsmya Robinson, Less. Ois. Mou. Velins, pl. 7.—De Latt. et Less. Rev. Zool. 1839, p. 18.
  • Mellisuga Fernandensis, Gray and Mitch. Gen. of Birds, vol. i. p. 113, Mellisuga, sp. 95.
  • Sephanoides fernandensis, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Ay., p. 82, Sephanoides, sp. 3.—Ib. Consp. Troch. Rev. et Mag. de Zool. 1854, p. 256.

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