Helianthea Lutetiæ

Comte de Paris

Popayan and Ecuador. Professor Jameson and Mr. Fraser state that “This bird is found in the valleys of Lloa and Pelogalli, but not nearer Quito.” —Ibis, vol. i. p. 400.

The Helhanthea Lutetiæ may fairly rank among the finest species of its genus.

In size it surpasses the H. typica and H. Eos, from which, and indeed from every other known species, it differs in the uniform deep grass-green of the chest and abdomen, and, with the exception of H. Eos, in the bright buff colouring of the secondaries, forming a conspicuous mark like an epaulet near the shoulders. The native habitat of this fine species is Ecuador, in which country it takes the place of the H. Bonaparti, H. typica, and H. Eos of Columbia, and the H. violifera of Peru. I believe its discovery to be due to the researches of the late M. DeLattre, who, in conjunction with M. Bourcier, named it Lu¢etie in honour of the Comte de Paris as a compliment to his illustrious father, the late Duke of Orleans, who by his patronage of the natural sciences contributed so largely to their development.

As is usual in this genus, the sexes differ very considerably in their colouring. The females of all the species, however, are very similar; but the female of H. Lutetie having the buffy epaulet-like mark on the shoulder, it is impossible to mistake the species to which it pertains.

The Helianthea Lutetiæ appears to be very common in the neighbourhood of Quito, as is evidenced by the numerous examples obtained by Professor Jameson, M. Bourcier, and every collector who has visited those regions. The specimens from which the original description was taken were procured by M. DeLattre on the Volcano of Purace near Popayan.

I am indebted to M. Bourcier for the loan of the drawing of the interesting plant figured on the accompanying Plate.

The male has a spot of glittering metallic green on the forehead; the sides of the head, crown, and back of the neck velvety-black; upper surface brownish-black glossed with green; wing-coverts dark green; wings purplish-brown, with the exception of the secondaries, which are buff, forming a conspicuous mark near the shoulder; tail dark bronzy-brown; under surface shining deep grass-green, with a. spot of rich metallic steel-blue in the centre of the throat; bill black; feet brown.

The female has the crown of the head and upper surface bronzy-green; wings and tail as in the male; chin and centre of the throat deep sandy-buff; under surface bronzy-green.

The Plate represents the sexes of the natural size.


  • Trochilus Lutetieæ, DeLatt. et Bource. Rev. Zool. 1846, p. 307.
  • Mellisuga lutetiæ, Gray and Mitch. Gen. of Birds, vol. i. p. 112, Mellisuga, sp. 7.
  • Helianthea lutetiae, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av., p.74, Helianthea, sp.3.—Reich. Aufz. der Col., p. 9.
  • Helianthea lutetiæ, Bonap. Rev. et Mag. de Zool. 1854, p. 251.

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