Pinarolæma buckleyi

Buckley’s Mountain Humming-bird

A single specimen only of this species has as yet been obtained.

This is in such ragged plumage that its markings can only be determined with difficulty. The specimen was moulting when it was shot; and much of the colour has faded from the old feathers. The tail and the throat, however, are pretty perfect; and these parts, together with a few new feathers, are tinted so as to indicate sufficiently clearly the colour of the plumage of the perfect bird. Any Trochilidist would be instantly convinced of the fact that this specimen belongs to a new species of Humming-bird in a bad state of plumage; and it rests with future travellers to discover others in perfect plumage where this individual was procured. Some Trochilidists believe the specimen to be a female, others a male; my own opinion is that it is the latter; but the bird is in moult, and probably very much altered. Mr. Buckley, whose name it bears, was the discoverer of this bird; he killed it at Misqui, in Bolivia, the height of the spot where it was found being 10,000 feet above the sea.

When the male of this bird is clean-mantled, I think, judging by the tail and throat and the spots of purple alternating with the old brown feathers in places throughout the upper surface, it will prove to be a finer bird than it now appears.

I regret I have no information to give respecting its actions, habits, and mode of feeding; but, from its long wings and little feet, I judge that the present bird is a good flyer, and perhaps depends for its food upon insects caught in the air rather than taken from flowers in the usual way.

I regret I have nothing more to add to the little already published, which runs as follows:—

The general appearance of this bird reminds me of Lampornis; but it has an extremely long wing. In the latter respect it resembles Oreotrochilus; but it differs from that genus in its strongly curved and lengthened bill and in its very broad tail-feathers, while its extremely small feet seem peculiar to the genus.”

So much refers to form; in what follows, colour and admeasurements are attended to.

Brown, with a purplish gloss on the back; the upper tail-coverts and tail-feathers brown, glossed with purple, and having a subterminal band of steel-blue; under surface of body brown, slightly washed with metallic green; the throat lighter brown, the feathers edged with paler brown, giving a scaly appearance; vent and under tail coverts white, the latter washed with brown.

Total length 4·6 inches, culmen 1·05, wing 2·95, tail 1·85, tarsus 0·15.

Habitat. Misqui, Bolivia, 10,000 feet.


  • Pinarolema Buckleyi, Gould, Ann. & Mag. of Nat. Hist. ser. 5, vol. v. p. 489 (June 1880).
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