Lampornis virginalis

St. Thomas’s Mango

The Island of St. Thomas

In my account of Lampornis aurulentus I have stated that its native country “is St. Domingo: as to Porto Rico, which it is also said to inhabit, I leave it to future Trochilidists to say if it be found there or not.”

I am still in doubt on this point; but since this remark was made, I have received numerous examples of a bird from the neighbouring island of St. Thomas, which, although bearing a general resemblance to L. aurulentus, differs in so many respects that I am induced to regard it as distinct, and have therefore assigned to it the specific appellation of ">L. virginalis. It is of much smaller size, has a considerably shorter, but at the same time more brilliantly coloured tail, and the semi-luminous gorget of a much brighter hue; the lower part of the back and the upper tail-coverts are also more brilliant; there is a smaller amount of black on the abdomen; and the two centre tail-feathers are rich bronzy purple instead of steely black.

I fear I have led my friend Alfred Newton, Esq. into error by causing him to consider the St. Thomas’s birds to be identical with the L. aurudentus; if so, it was quite unintentional on my part; and my excuse must be that I had not then seen so many specimens of this bird as are now before me, for some of which I am indebted to his liberality, while the others were obtained by purchase.

The male has the crown and all the upper surface bronzy green; wings light purplish brown; throat shining greenish wax-yellow; chest and centre of the abdomen black, passing into green on the flanks; upper tail-coverts brilliant bronzy green; two centre tail-feathers rich bronze; the remainder fine purple, margined and tipped with bluish black; bill black; feet dark brown.

Total length 4\(\frac{1}{2}\) inches; bill \(\frac{15}{16}\); wing 2\(\frac{3}{7}\); tail 1\(\frac{1}{2}\); tarsi \(\frac{1}{4}\).

The female differs in the colour of the under surface, which is grey, and in the colouring and markings of the tail, which, like those of the females of all, or nearly all the members of the genus, are very beautiful,—the two centre tail-feathers being resplendent bronze, and the remainder barred at the base with pale reddish, crossed near the extremity with a broad band of steel-black, and largely tipped with white; the two next the central ones are also glossed with bronze on their outer webs.

The accompanying Plate is intended to represent two adult males and a young male of the size of life.

The plant is the Tamarindus officinalis.

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