Helianthea violifera

Violet-throated Star-frontlet

“In proving Chulimani au Cordilera” in Bolivia (Warszewicz).

The first specimens I received of this new species of Helianthea were sent to me by Mr. Bridges of Valparaiso, who collected them during his journey into the interior of Bolivia: subsequently others were forwarded to me from the same country, and also from Peru, by M. Warszewicz; Southern Peru and Bolivia, then, appear to be its true habitat.

The locality given by Mr. Bridges is the warm region of Sandillani New Road, Yungas of La Paz in Bolivia; that by M. Warszewicz is the Province of Chulimania in the Cordillera of Peru, at an elevation of from 3000 to 6000 feet, where it greatly affects the flowers of Salvia longiflora. The total absence of any fine colouring on the under surface of this bird has almost induced me to give it a separate generic appellation; but, after again and again carefully comparing it with the other species of the form, I hesitate from so doing. It has the usual star-frontlet and blue throatmark, but the former character is developed in a very much less degree than in any of its congeners: it also differs from the other Heliantheæ in having an obscure band of white on the lower part of the neck. It has a longer bill than either of them, and, moreover, is a somewhat larger bird.

The sexes differ in accordance with the figures on the accompanying Plate.

The male has the head, back of the neck, chin, ear-coverts and breast dark green, so deep, in fact, that when viewed in front, the head appears to be black; in the centre of the throat a patch of violet-blue; across the lower part of the throat a narrow band of white; back and rump golden green; abdomen, upper and under tail-coverts light rufous; tail light rufous, the apical third of the two central, and the tips of the remainder washed with bronzy green; wings purplish brown, with the external edge of the first primary rufous; bill black.

The female has the throat rufous, mottled with green, in lieu of the green and violet colouring of that part of the male.

The figures are the size of life. The plant is the Passiflora Medusæa.


  • Trochilus (———?) violifer, Gould in Proc. of Zool. Soc., part xiv. p. 87.
  • Mellisuga violifera, Gray and Mitch. Gen. of Birds, vol. i. p. 112, Mellisuga, sp. 9.
  • Helanthea volifer, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av., p. 75, Hehanthea, sp. 4.
  • Helanthea violifera, Ib. Rev. et Mag. de Zool. 1854, p. 251.—Reichenb. Aufz. der Colibris, p. 9.

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