Phœthornis Eurynome

Eurynome Hermit


When M. Lesson published his “Trochilidées” in 1831, he had only seen two examples of this elegant species, one in the possession of M. Bévalet, and the other in the collection of M. Longuemare; since that period so many have been sent from Rio de Janeiro, that it is evident the bird must be very abundant in that part of Brazil.

I have examined at least a hundred specimens of different ages and sexes, all of which were very similar, the females merely differing from the males in being of a smaller size: among those in my possession, however, are two specimens clothed in the usual style of plumage, but having a rich pink tint pervading the lower part of the abdomen, deepening in one of them to a reddish hue; the feet have also evidently been of the same colour: in the absence of all data respecting this singular state of colouring, I am induced to believe it to be attributable to some peculiar and at present unknown cause, rather than an indication that these individuals belong to a distinct species.

Head dark blackish brown, each feather margined with reddish, which is more apparent in some specimens than others; back of the neck, wing-coverts, and upper surface dark green, with a slight golden reflexion, all the feathers scaled with brown, particularly on the upper tail-coverts; wings purplish brown; basal portion of the tail of the same colour as the back, but deepening into black towards the tips of the lateral feathers and the middle of the two central ones, the lateral feathers with a mark of white at their tips resembling the letter V; apical half of the central feathers white; over the eye a broad stripe of reddish buff; over the ear-coverts a large patch of black; from the angle of the beak on either side is a streak of buff; feathers of the throat brownish black, margined with buff; all the under surface greyish brown, assuming a sooty hue on the breast, and washed with buff on the vent and under tail-coverts; upper mandible and tip of the lower one black, basal three-fourths of the latter orange; feet brownish yellow.

Total length, 6\(\frac{1}{2}\) inches; bill, 1\(\frac{9}{16}\); wing, 2\(\frac{1}{2}\); tail, 2\(\frac{5}{8}\); tarsus, \(\frac{3}{16}\).

The above is the average admeasurement of several males; the females assimilate to the males in the style of their colouring, but are of a much smaller size, and the young assume the adult colouring from the nest.

All the nests I have seen have been attached to the pendent leaves of palms and other trees growing in the neighbourhood of water or in humid situations, and the ingenuity with which these little birds attach their nests with cobwebs and other slight materials to the leaves is truly wonderful: the beautiful nest represented is formed of the most delicate tendrils and roots of trees; it is a somewhat shallow and frail structure, lengthened into a point below. I believe that the eggs, which are white, are generally two in number.

The figures are all of the natural size.


  • Trochilus Eurynome, Less. Troch., p. 91. pl. 31.
  • Trochilus Eurynomus, Sard. Nat. Lib. Humming Birds, vol. ii. p. 121. pl. 28.
  • Phœtornis eurynomus, Gray and Mitch. Gen. of Birds, Phœtornis, sp. 5.

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