Helianthea osculans

Buff-tailed Star-frontlet

Mr. Whitely collected this bird at Cachuapata and Huasampilla in Peru, and at present he appears to be the only naturalist who has met with the species.

It is of about the same size as H. violifera, but differs from that bird in having a stouter and longer bill, by the spot on the forehead being larger, and green instead of blue, by the tips of the tail-coverts and tail-feathers being tinged with olive-green, and by the breast being of a more brilliant green, and destitute of any crescentic greyish-white mark across the chest.

Male. Crown of the head, viewed anteriorly, black, with a spot of brilliant green on the forehead, as in H. bonapartei; back and upper tail-coverts bronzy green; shoulders golden brown; primaries purplish black, the exterior web of the first buff; throat and breast brilliant green, with a patch of an equally brilliant blue in the centre of the former; abdomen buff, tinged and mottled with green; thighs buffy white; under tail-coverts light buff; tail-feathers deep buff, tinged with green at the tip, especially the two centre ones; bill black. Total length 5\(\frac{1}{2}\) inches, bill 1\(\frac{5}{8}\), wing 3\(\frac{1}{8}\), tail 2\(\frac{1}{8}\), tarsi \(\frac{1}{4}\).

Mr. Elliot says that the female differs in having no frontal or gular spot. The throat is buff, spotted with green; otherwise it resembles the male.

The Plate represents an adult male in two positions, drawn from the original specimen.

[R. B. S.]


  • Helhanthea osculans, Gould, Proc. Zool. Soc. 1871, p. 503.—Sclater & Salvin, Nomencl. Av. Neotr. p. 89 (1873) —Whitely, Proc. Zool. Soc. 1873, p. 191, 1874, p. 677.—Klliot, Ibis, 1874, p. 334.—Id. Synopsis of the Humming-Birds, p. 73 (1878).—Tacz. Orn. du Pérou, i. p. 376 (1884).
  • Calligenia osculans, Mulsant, Hist. Nat. Oiseaux-Mouches, i. p. 300 (1876).

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