Lesbia Gouldi

Bogota Train-bearer

The high lands of New Granada, particularly the neighbourhood of Bogota

At the scientific meeting of the Zoological Society of London held on the 10th of January, 1832, Mr. Loddiges brought before the notice of the members present, a series of Humming Birds, which he considered to be new to science, one of which—the bird here represented—he was pleased to dedicate to myself, calling it Trochilus Gouldii subsequently it was characterized by M. Lesson as Ornismya sylphia, a name which I would gladly retain, did not the tacit understanding which now prevails among naturalists, that the appellation first given should be the one adopted, preclude me from so doing; for although fully appreciating the kindness of my late friend, I would rather that a more appropriate designation had been given to it, and regret that the law above referred to will not allow me to employ that of sylphia, which would have been singularly applicable, inasmuch as the form of the bird is exceedingly elegant, and its actions, according to report, are light and sylph-like.

Although only twenty-five years have elapsed since its first discovery, few birds have become more common, it being literally sent in thousands from that great emporium for Humming-bird collectors, Santa Fé de Bogota, where it ranges over an area, of which the city of Bogota may be considered the centre, of ‘about one thousand miles along the temperate regions of the Andes. In Ecuador and Peru its place appears to be filled by other nearly allied species.

As is the case with all the members of this genus, the sexes of the present species differ considerably both in size and colouring; the female, as will be seen on reference to the accompanying Plate, being much less splendidly adorned than her mate.

The male has the head green; back of the neck, back, and wing-coverts golden green; wings purplishbrown; rump, upper tail-coverts, and all but the two outer tail-feathers, resplendent grass-green; two outer tail-feathers dark brown for two-thirds of their length, the apical third glossed with green, increasing in brilliancy to the apex; throat luminous grass-green; remainder of the under surface golden green; bill black; feet brown.

The female has the whole of the upper surface golden green; the rump and central tail-feathers of a yellower green than in the male; and the outer feathers, which are not more than half the length of the corresponding feathers in the male, brown, with the basal two-thirds of the outer web, the shaft and the tip buffy grey; under surface grey, speckled with bronzy green.

The Plate represents the two sexes of the size of life. The plant is the Sobralia fragrans.


  • Trochilus Gouldii, Lodd. in Proc. of Comm. of Sei. and Corr. of Zool. Soe., part ii. p. 7.
  • Ornismya sylphia, Less. Rev. Zool. 1840, p. 73.
  • Mellisuga Gouldii, Gray and Mitch. Gen. of Birds, vol. i. p. 118, Mellisuga, sp. 51.
  • Cynanthus gouldi, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av., p. 81, Cynanthus, sp. 4.—Ib. Rev. et Mag. de Zool. 1854, p. 252.
  • Lesbia Gouldii, Reichenb. Aufz. der Colibris, p. 8.—Ib. Troch. enumer., p. 5. pl. dccxii. figs. 4615-4617.

More hummingbirds in the genus Lesbia

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.