Phaëthornis syrmatophorus

Train-bearing Hermit


I am indebted to Professor Jameson of Quito for several examples of this new species of Phaëthornis, which had been procured in the neighbourhood of that city.

In all probability, the eastern portions of Peru, from the Equator to Bolivia, are the true and proper habitat of the bird. Certain it is, that I have never seen examples from any part of Columbia, which tends to strengthen this supposition. The species to which it seems to be most nearly allied is the P. Eurynome; but it differs from that and every other I have seen in several particulars, namely in the rich buffy hue which pervades the lower part of the abdomen and the under tail-coverts; in the zone of rich buff which occupies the lower part of the back and the upper tail-coverts; in the lateral tail-feathers being very short, and largely tipped with buff; in the two central tail-feathers being very long, much broader and of a looser texture; and moreover, having their apical halves pure white, which renders them very conspicuous, and has suggested the specific name of Syrmatophorus or Train-bearer.

Mr. Bridges brought from Bolivia a single specimen of a bird so closely resembling this species in general appearance, that I am inclined to think it may be a female of the present bird, the chief differences being its smaller size, and the somewhat narrower form of the apical halves of the central tail-feathers: it may, however, prove to be distinct.

Crown of the head and back of the neck dark brown, most of the feathers narrowly edged with buff; back and shoulders bronzy green, with crescentic bands of buff; rump and upper tail-coverts rich buff, forming a conspicuous mark; chin white; a buffy-white mark surmounts the eye, and extends backward down the sides of the neck; chest, abdomen, and under tail-coverts rich buff; basal half of the two central tail-feathers black on the edges, and green in the centre; their apical half white; lateral feathers greyish black, largely tipped with buff; wings purplish brown; upper mandible blackish brown; under mandible orange-red; feet brown.

The figures are of the natural size. The beautiful plant is the Rondeletia versicolor.


  • Phaëthorms Syrmatophorus, Gould in Jard. Orn. Cont., 1851.

More hummingbirds in the genus Phaëthornis

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.