Heliodoxa xanthogonys

Guiana Brilliant

The present species was also one of Mr. Whitely’s discoveries in British Guiana.

He met with it both on the Merumé Mountains and near Roraima at a height of 3500 feet. Messrs. Salvin and Godman state that it is “allied to H. jamesoni from Ecuador, but is smaller, with a less forked tail, and is also distinguished by its orange-coloured mandible.” They observe (l. c.), “Mr. Whitely sends us a male and several females of this species, which is obviously allied to the Ecuadorian H. jamesoni, but at the same time quite specifically distinct. This is the first evidence we have received of the fact of a member of this Andean genus being found in Guiana.”

Mr. Whitely has sent us the following account of his capture of the species on the Merumé Mountains:—

This beautiful bird was obtained in the same locality as Lophornis pavoninus, but, unlike that species, it is of more retiring habits, frequenting the gloomy recesses of the forest, where it suddenly startles one by its rapid flights, and then coming to a stop, throwing the body up vertically within a few yards of one’s face, making a very loud humming with its wings. It then darts off out of sight like a flash, rendering it a most difficult bird to shoot. Only one male was obtained here, and several females; but I was fortunate enough to get two males on my second expedition to Roraima, at an elevation of 5000 feet. Stomach contained remains of insects.

The Plate represents two males and a female, the figures being drawn from specimens lent to us by Messrs. Salvin and Godman.

[R. B. S.]


  • Heliodoxa xanthogonys, Salvin & Godman, Ibis, 1882, p. 80.—Salvin, Ibis, 1885, p. 433.
  • Xanthogenyx salvini, De Hamonville, Bull. Soc. Zool. France, viii. p. 77 (1883).

More hummingbirds in the genus Heliodoxa

Poster preview

Get a poster

Featuring all 422 illustrated species from John Gould’s A Monograph of the Trochilidæ, or Family of Humming-Birds arranged by color.