Petasophora cyanotis

Little Violet-Ear

New Granada and Venezuela

Compared with P. Anais and P. Iolata this is a small species, and it may, moreover, be distinguished from these, as well as all the other upland members of the genus, by the total absence of blue colouring on the chin and abdomen; I believe the bird figured by Lesson on the 57th plate of his “Hist. Nat. des Trochilidées” to be identical with the one here represented, and not, as he states it to be, the female of P. Anais.

The P. cyanotis enjoys a wide range over the Andes, extending from Ecuador throughout Columbia northward to Veragua and Costa Rica, from all of which countries I possess examples. Mr. Dyson collected numerous specimens in the Caraccas, and M. Warszewicz has sent others in all the collections made by him in Peru. In all these countries it inhabits the temperate and warmer regions, wherever flowers and insect life abound. The usual diversity of size occurs in this as in the other members of the genus, the female being very much smaller than the male. A rich golden tint prevails in some specimens, while others are dark glossy green. Some individuals, particularly those brought by M. De Lattre, are so much smaller than those from Bogota and other districts, as to induce the opinion that they may be distinct; but this is a point which can only be determined when we have had opportunities for more accurate investigation of the subject than are at present afforded us.

In most specimens the head, upper surface and wing-coverts, abdomen and flanks are dark bronzy green, while others have the same parts of a nearly uniform dark shining grass-green; line under the eye and earcoverts rich purplish blue; wings purplish brown; tail dark shining green, crossed near the tip by a broad chalybeate band and the two central feathers washed with bronze; chin, throat and breast luminous tessellated green, as in the other species, but not quite so brilliant in some examples as in others; the hue too varies, being pure green in some and of a golden green in others; under tail-coverts buff, washed with green in the centre; bill black; feet blackish brown.

The Plate represents a male and a female of the natural size; the plant is the Barkeria Lindleyana.


  • Trochilus cyanotus, Bourc. Rev. Zool. 18438, p. 101.—Ib. Ann. Sci. et Phys. de Lyons, tom. vi. p. 41.
  • Petasophora cyanotus, Gould in Proce. of Zool. Soc., Part xv. p. 8.
  • Polytmus cyanotus, Gray and Mitch. Gen. of Birds, vol. i. p. 108, Polytmus, sp. 25.
  • Colibri cyanotus, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av., p. 69, Colibri, sp. 1.
  • Ormsmya Anais, Less. Hist. Nat. des Troch., p. 151. pl. 57?

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