Eustephanus leyboldi

Leybold’s Firecrown

About ten years ago Dr. Leybold, of the Santiago Museum, Chili, was in London, and frequently visited my house, when we had several conversations respecting the Humming-birds of the Juan-Fernandez group, concerning which be had much to tell me.

Amongst other things which interested me greatly was the information Dr. Leybold gave about the Firecrowns of Juan Fernandez. He promised me that on his return to Chili he would send a collector and get me specimens, if possible, from the group, which promise he faithfully fulfilled, with the result that a new species of Humming-bird was found to exist on the hitherto unexplored island of Mas-a-fuera.

I described the species in 1870 from specimens presented to me by Dr. Leybold; and in attaching that gentleman’s name to it I was only adding one more acknowledgment of his zeal and devotion to the Museum under his charge, while at the same time it expressed my own personal obligations to him for his kindness in seeking out the specimens for me.

It is an interesting fact in connexion with the present species that it is only the female bird that gives characters for specific separation from E. fernandensis. It is an unusual thing for species to be founded on the female birds; but there are several parallel cases known to ornithologists where the males are nearly alike, while the females are quite different. The following description of the species is taken from my original account of E. leyboldi.

It has a glittering crown, and is in many respects very similar to the bird usually called E. stokesi, but differs in having a longer bill, and in the spots on the throat being bronzy and disposed in lines down that part of the under surface and the flanks, as in E. galeritus, instead of being generally dispersed over the throat and clustered on the face, as in E. stokesi; but the greatest difference between the two consists in the colouring of the tail-feathers, those of E. stokesi having their outer webs green, and their inner ones wholly white, while m the present bird the outer webs and the basal portion of the inner ones are green, and only the apical portion of the latter white.

Total length 4\(\frac{5}{8}\) inches, bill \(\frac{15}{16}\), wing 2\(\frac{7}{8}\), tail 2, tarsus \(\frac{3}{8}\).

The figures in the Plate are drawn from the typical specimens in my collection, and represent a pair of birds of the size of life.


  • Eustephanus leyboldi, Gould, Ann. & Mag. Nat. Hist. 4th series, vol. vi. p. 406.—Scelater, Ibis, 1871, p. 181.—Reed, Ibis, 1874, p. 84.—Mulsant, Hist. Nat. OiseauxMouches, p. 256.—Elliot, Synopsis Trochil. p. 94.

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