Heliotrypha viola

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A journey lately made by M. Warszewicz on the banks of the Maranon has been the means of making known to us the present beautiful new species of Humming Bird; and it may not be out of place to mention here, that both Trochilidists and Orchidists are very largely indebted to the exertions of this intrepid traveller, who hesitates not to risk his life whenever a chance of obtaining novelties in either of those departments presents itself; and his intrepidity has hitherto been most amply rewarded, since no one has had the good fortune to add so largely to our stores of these interesting and lovely objects as M. Warszewicz; his collections of the Trochilidæ, which have all been transmitted to myself, have afforded me many opportunities of mentioning his exertions in terms of commendation, and I feel confident that George Ure Skinner, Esq., to whom his Orchids have been consigned, can speak quite as highly of his acquisitions in that department.

Whether we regard the elegance of the form of H. viola or the chasteness of its colouring, we know not which to admire most; and as in these respects it differs from all other Trochili, with the exception of H. Parzudaki, to which it is nearly allied, I have deemed it advisable to propose a new generic title—Heliotrypha—for this bird; the form of which is directly intermediate between Heliangelus and Helianthea.

Forehead brilliant metallic green; all the upper surface, flanks, and abdomen, rich dark green; wings purplish brown; four middle tail-feathers green, the remainder purplish black, all but the two outer ones on each side washed with green at the tip; throat rich deep violet, bounded on the sides and below by a line of deep velvety black; under tail-coverts buff, with a dark mark in the centre of each; bill and feet blackish brown.

The female is similar to, but less brilliant than the male, and moreover differs in having the throat dull black, speckled with greyish white, and the under tail-coverts buff, with green centres.

The figures represent two males and a female of the size of life. The plant is the Datura cornigera.


  • Heliangelus viola, Gould in Proc. of Zool. Soc. April 12, 1853, reported in Athenæum April 16, 1853.

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