Schistes Geoffroyi

Geoffroy’s Wedge-Bill

The Andes of New Granada

This bird was first made known to us by MM. Bourcier and Mulsant in the Annals of the Royal Society of Agriculture, &c. of Lyons for 1843; fortunately for science it is one of the few species that has not received a second specific name, and hence all confusion as to its identity is obviated.

In its singular wedge-shaped bill combined with the cuneate form of its tail, it differs from the members of all the previously established genera of this family; I have therefore deemed it advisable to make this bird the type of a new genus, and have selected the term of Schistes as indicative of one of the features by which it and its near ally, the S. albogularis, are distinguished. I feel certain that this peculiarity in the form of the bill is adapted for some especial purpose, and it would be highly interesting to know from what tribe of plants the bird gathers its insect food, of which, as well as all other details connected with its habits and economy, we are entirely ignorant; all that we know at present being that it is a native of the Columbian Andes, and that specimens are frequently sent to France in collections from Santa Fé de Bogota. Iam not aware that there is any distinctive sexual colouring in the plumage of this bird, a great similarity existing in all the specimens I have examined.

Across the forehead a faint line of luminous green; crown of the head, upper surface and wing-coverts bronzy green, deepening into rich bronze on the rump and upper tail-coverts; wings purplish brown; tail green, crossed near the tip by a broad chalybeate band, beyond which the feathers are of a paler green than at the base, and the four outer feathers on each side are fringed with white at the tip; throat luminous green; behind the eye a small tuft of white; ear-coverts dark brown; on each side the breast a tuft of lilac-blue; feathers margined posteriorly with green; under surface glossy green; tuft behind the thigh white; vent feathers grey at the base and tip, olive-green in the middle; bill and feet blackish brown.

The figures are of the size of life.


  • Trochilus Geoffroyi, Bourc. et Muls. in Ann. de la Soc. Roy. d’Agric. de Lyon, tom. vi. 1843, p. 37. pl. 3.
  • Petasophora? Geoffroyi, Gould in Proc. of Zool. Soc., Part xv. p. 9.
  • Polytmus Geoffroyi, Gray and Mitch. Gen. of Birds, vol. i. p. 108, Polytmus, sp. 31.
  • Colibri geoffroyi, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av., p. 69, Colibri, sp. 7.

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