Phaëthornis Bourcieri

Bourcier’s Hermit

Cayenne and the adjacent countries

I believe Cayenne to be the native country of this species of Phaëthornis, which, although assimilating in colour to many of its allies, may be readily distinguished by the nearly straight form of its bill and by the almost uniform greyish white tint of the throat and under surface; in size it is much smaller than P. superciliosus or P. Eurynome.

M. Lesson has named this pretty species Bourcieri, in honour of a gentleman whose collection of the Trochilidæ is the most celebrated and complete on the Continent; whose devotion to the subject is so well known, and who, by his researches while Consul for the French Government at Quito, has contributed so largely to our knowledge of this lovely group of birds.

The sexes are alike in plumage, but the female is smaller than the male.

Head, upper surface and wing-coverts bronzy green; wings purplish brown; tail-coverts bronzy green, with a crescent of brown near the extremity, and tipped with buff; tail bronzy green, deepening into black on the middle of the feathers and on the extremity of their inner webs; the tip of the outer web buff, and the extreme end of the inner web fringed with whitish; the lengthened and narrower portion of the two central feathers brownish black, gradually passing into the white of their apices; under surface greyish buff, palest on the throat, abdomen and under tail-coverts, and clouded with dusky on the flanks; upper mandible dark brown; under mandible straw-yellow, except at the point, where it becomes of a dark brown hue; feet yellowish brown.

In young birds the feathers of the upper surface are fringed with rufous.

The front figure is of the natural size.


  • Trochilus Bourcieri, Less. Les Troch., p. 62. pl. 18.
  • Phætornis Bourcieri, Gray and Mitch. Gen. of Birds, vol. i. p. 104, Phætornis, sp. 9.
  • Phaëtornis bourcieri, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av., p. 67, Phaëtornis, sp. 9.

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