Grypus Spixi

Spix’s Saw-bill


I obtained a single specimen of this bird from M. Parzudaki of Paris, but was unable to learn whence it had been received, a fact which would be of much interest both to myself and to every scientific ornithologist; I have but little doubt, however, that the bird is a native of Brazil.

Not being able to find any published description of a species according with the present bird, whose thick and powerful bill, together with other characters, at once indicate its proper place in the family of Trochilidæ, I have no alternative but to characterize it as new. When first described it, I accompanied my description with a remark, which I may as well repeat here:—

This bird is considerably smaller than G. nævius, and has a less cuneate tail. It is possible that this may be one of the sexes of Glaucis Dohrni; many of its colours would induce such a belief; and if this should prove to be the case, that bird must be removed from the genus Glaucis to that of Grypus. I have named this species in honour of the celebrated traveller Spix, in whose work there occurs a figure of a bird (G. ruficollis) which somewhat resembles my specimen; not so, however, the accompanying description, which appears to be that of the species so frequently sent from Rio de Janeiro, and which is generally known as Grypus nævius.

Crown of the head bronzy brown; upper surface and all the tail-feathers very rich reddish bronze; Wings reddish purple-brown; line above the eye buff; ear-coverts dark brown; throat, chest, and under surface deep reddish buff; under tail-coverts bronzy, each slightly tipped with buffy white; upper mandible black; under mandible yellow, with a black tip; feet yellow.

The figures are of the natural size. The plant is the Brassavola lineata.


  • Grypus Spixi, Gould in Proc. of Zool. Soc., part xxviii. p. 304.

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