Phaëthornis intermedius

Middle-sized Hermit

South-eastern Brazil.

The members of the genus Phaëthornis form a distinct and well-marked section of the Trochilidæ, and as the species are very numerous and very widely dispersed, they must play a considerable part in the economy of nature in the portions of the country they frequent; the present bird is an inhabitant of Brazil, to which country I believe it to be solely confined: from the notes of Mr. Reeves I learn that it is very common in all the virgin forests near Rio de Janeiro, and that its habits and economy closely resemble those of P. Eurynome and the other members of the genus.

It is by no means an attractive species, either in its colouring or in any other particular, and is indeed more sombre in its general appearance than any of its allies.

The only external differences between the sexes consist in the somewhat larger size and bolder style of markings of the male.

General hue of the upper surface bronzy brown, glossed with green on the back and wing-coverts; wings purplish brown; lateral tail-feathers bronzy green deepening into blackish brown near the tip, at which is an arrow-head-shaped mark of white tinged with buff, the buff tinge predominating on the two outer feathers; two central tail-feathers bronzy green for two-thirds of their length, the remaining apical third being white; above the eye a streak of buff; lores and ear-coverts dark brown, beneath which is another stripe of buff; throat dark brown; under surface buff, clouded with olive-brown on the sides of the neck and flanks; upper mandible and tip of the under one blackish brown, basal half of the latter buff; feet yellow or flesh-coloured.

The figures are of the natural size.


  • Trochilus intermedius, Less. Les Troch., p. 65. pl. 19.
  • Phetornis intermedius, Gray and Mitch. Gen. of Birds, vol. i. p. 104, Phætornis, sp. 8.
  • Phaëtornis intermedius, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av., p. 67, Phaëtorms, sp. 8.

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