Heliangelus strophianus

Gorgeted Sun Angel


Although the Heliangelus strophianus presents the general appearance of H. Clarissæ, it nevertheless possesses several peculiarities by which it may be at once distinguished from that species: thus, it is a larger and more powerful bird; has a shorter bill; a more distinctly defined and whiter gorget; the tail entirely steel-black, with elongated outer feathers, giving that organ a forked form; the crown of the head green; the lower part of the back strongly tinged with brown; and the sides of the chest and lower part of the abdomen of a deeper grass-green.

The native country of this fine species is Ecuador and Northern Peru, to which it appears to be confined; for I have never seen an example from Bogota, its place there being supplied by H. Clarissæ, and in Bolivia by H. amethysticollis. Many specimens were brought to Europe by M. Bourcier, and some fine male examples have been transmitted to me by my friend Professor Jameson, who collected them in the neighbourhood of Quito, which I regard as the head-quarters of the species.

The male has a spot of luminous green on the forehead; the crown of the head, all the upper surface and abdomen dull green; behind the eye a small spot of white; chin black; throat rich violet-red or pucecolour, the blue or violet hue slightly increased on the upper and lateral margins; below this a clearly defined gorget of white; rump and upper tail-coverts greenish brown; centre of the back, wing-coverts and under surface green; lores and sides of the neck black; wings purplish black; tail steel- or bluish black; under tail-coverts white, streaked with dark brown; bill black; feet brown.

The female has a faint indication of the luminous mark on the forehead; head, upper surface and two central tail-feathers bronzy green, lateral tail-feathers black; throat dull mottled black and brown, and a slight indication of the white gorget.

The figures are of the natural size. The plant is the Plumieria Jamesoni.


  • Trochilus (———?) strophianus, Gould in Proc. of Zool. Soc., part xiv. p. 45.
  • Mellisuga strophiana, Gray and Mitch. Gen. of Birds, vol. i. p. 112, Mellisuga, sp. 39.
  • Heliangelus strophianus, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av., p. 76, Heliangelus, sp. 5.—Ib. Rev. et Mag. de Zool. 1854, p. 252.
  • Anactoria Strophiana, Reichenb. Aufz. der Colibris, p. 12.

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