Eustephanus Stokesi

Stokes’ Humming Bird

Juan Fernandez

The island of Juan Fernandez is the true and restricted habitat of this beautiful species, the honour of discovering and first describing which is due to Captain P. P. King, R.N., who, in dedicating it to his friend the late Charles Stokes, Esq., was desirous of paying a just tribute of respect to one of the most accomplished men of science, art and literature that has graced society for many years.

Nothing has yet been recorded respecting this or the other Humming Birds inhabiting the island of Juan Fernandez, the extent of which is considerably less than the Isle of Wight, but in which we are told there are many lofty mountains, interspersed with pleasant valleys, clothed with an abundant vegetation. It is in these valleys, and among the shrubby trees close to the sea-shore, that this bird finds a congenial habitat. Mr. Bridges, who has lately returned to Valparaiso, after a short sojourn in this almost terra incognita, procured numerous examples, all of which, about thirty in number, have been sent to this country, and submitted to my inspection. Some of them are more richly coloured than others, but all have the metallic green crown; the question then arises, has the female this character as well as the male, or did Mr. Bridges procure males only? One of Captain King’s specimens, now in my possession, and which is apparently adult, is destitute of the metallic crown, and has always been regarded by me as a female, but it would seem that this is uncertain; dissection alone then can determine the point.

The only figure of this bird that has yet appeared is the one given by Lesson on the fifth plate of his “Trochilide,” and of this I would only remark, that a worse or more incorrect representation of it could scarcely have been made.

Crown of the head metallic bluish green; all the upper surface and wing-coverts green with a bronzy lustre; wings purplish brown, the spurious wing glossed with green; two central tail-feathers and the outer webs of the three next on each side grass-green, the inner webs of these lateral feathers white; outer feather white, edged with dusky brown, deepening into green at the tip of the outer web; under surface white, with a spangle of shining green at the tip of each feather of the chin, throat and flanks, the spangles being, in consequence of the smaller size of the feathers, most numerous on the chin and throat; under tail-coverts white with green centres.

The figures are of the natural size. The fern is the Dicksonia Berteroana, of Juan Fernandez.


  • Trochilus Stokesii, King in Proc. of Comm. of Sci. and Corr. of Zool. Soc., Part I. p: 30.— Less. Les Troch., p. 185. pl. 50.—Jard. Nat. Lib. Humming Birds, vol. 1. p. 55. pl. 5.
  • Mellisuga Stokesii, Gray and Mitch. Gen. of Birds, vol. i. p. 118, Mellisuga, sp. 94.
  • Sephanoides stokesi, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av., p. 82, Sephanoides, sp. 2.—Ib. Consp. Troch. in Rev. et Mag. de Zool. 1854, p. 256.

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