Oxypogon cyanolæmus

Blue-throated Helmet-crest

This may be considered one of the finest of the Humming-birds described since the conclusion of my ‘Monograph,’ and it forms an interesting addition to the genus Oxypogon.

It was found by Mr. Simons on the 18th and 19th of July 1879, on the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta, in Colombia, at an altitude of from 10,000 to 14,000 feet above the sea.

Messrs. Salvin and Godman remark that the present bird is like Oxypogon guerini, but may be distinguished at a glance by the long plumes of the throat being blue instead of green, and by its having the inner web of the lateral tail-feathers entirely creamy-white except at the tips. They write:—

The species is perfectly distinct from O. guerini of the high mountain-ranges of Colombia, and also from O. lindeni from the high lands of Merida. Besides other differences, the colouring of the middle of the throat at once distinguishes these beautiful birds, that of O. lindeni being white, of O. guerini green, and of our new species blue. In having a large amount of white in the tail, O. cyanolæmus approaches more nearly O. guerini.

The following is a translation of the original description given by Messrs. Salvin and Godman:—

Above dull green, the sides of the neck and the nape white, the whole of the head black, washed with green; an elongated black crest, with a central streak of white, divided into two towards the nostrils; underneath whitish, the middle of the throat ornamented with elongated blue plumes, the sides of the body spotted with dull green; tail bronzy-green, the three outer tail-feathers on each side creamy white excepting the tips and the outer web (the outermost excepted).

The female is similar to the male, but the head uniform with the back, the elongated crest and blue throat being absent; bill and feet black. Total length 4·5 inches, wing 2·7, outer tail-feather 3·2, centre tail-feather 2·9, bill from gape 0·6.

The figures in the Plate are drawn from the typical specimens lent to me by Messrs. Salvin and Godman, and represent two adult males and a female.


  • Oxypogon cyanolæmus, O. Salvin & F. D. Godman, Ibis, 1880, p. 172, pl. iv. fig. 2.

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