Ionolaima Schreibersi

Schribers’ Humming-bird

The forests bordering the Upper Rio Negro and the Napo

The Ionolaima Schreibersi is a native of the central and very remote parts of South America; hence it is a species of considerable rarity, and but seldom seen in collections.

It was for a long time a unique bird in England, the only specimen known being the single one contributed to the Loddigesian Collection by the late Mr. John Natterer of Vienna, who collected it on the upper part of the Rio Negro: the specimens of both sexes in my own collection were procured on the Napo, and these are the only countries from which I have yet seen examples. It certainly does not occur at Quito or at Bogota, but that it ranges rather widely over the countries skirting the eastern dip of the Andes of Ecuador in Peru, is more than probable; still, strange to say, it was not one of the birds sent by Mr. Hauxwell from the Ucayali. Had not my good friend Natterer been so suddenly called from among us, after his return from his eighteen years’ explorations in South America, something would doubtless have been recorded respecting the habits and manners of this fine bird, which was dedicated by his desire to his friend Schreibers, the Director of the Imperial Museum of Natural History at Vienna.

The male has the crown of the head, all the upper surface, wing- and tail-coverts and flanks green; wings purplish-brown; central tail-feathers greenish-blue, remainder dark steel-blue; from the angle of the bill on each side a buff moustache; chin deep black, at the base of which is a patch of lovely purple, succeeded by a band of shining metallic green; centre of the abdomen very dark brown, glossed with green; bill black; feet dark brown.

The female has the upper surface bronzy-green; two outer feathers of the tail on each side dull steel-blue tipped with .grey, the remainder bronze; all the under surface grey, with a crescent of glittering green at the tip of each feather; on the side of the face an indistinct greyish-white moustache.

The Plate represents the sexes of the natural size.


  • Trochilus Schreibersii, Lodd. MSS., Boure. in Proe. of Zool. Soc., part xv. p. 43.—Ib. Rey. de Zool. 1847, p. 255.
  • Calothorax? Schreibersii, Gray and Mitch. Gen. of Birds, vol. i. p. 110, Calothorax, sp. 4.
  • Thalurania Schrebersi, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av., p. 77, Thalurania, sp. 9.
  • Ionolaima Schreibersii, Reich. Aufz. der Col., p. 9.
  • Campylopterus schreibersi, Bonap. Rev. et Mag. de Zool. 1854, p. 250.

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