Selasphorus ardens

Salvin’s Flame-bearer

The species of the genus Selasphorus, as pointed out by Mr. Elliot, are distinguished by the colour of their throats; and in the present species and S. platycercus the throat has been characterized by him as “dark amethystine-red.”

S. ardens differs from S. platycercus in being smaller, and in having the flanks and abdomen dark green instead of grey. Mr. Salvin has given the following notes on the species—

This species has the throat coloured just as in S. platycercus, which is in other respects a very different species. Its nearest allies, however, are S. flammula and S. torridus; but it differs from both in the coloration of the throat, and also in having the central tail-feathers black, edged with rufous instead of green: this latter distinction is more conspicuous when the tail is compared with that of S. flammula. The wholly black bill and the absence of the elongated gular feathers distinguish it from S. torridus. The male sent by Arcé is not in quite perfect plumage, but is so far satisfactory as to show a few faded feathers on the throat. These are bronzy, and quite different in colour from the gorget-feathers of either S. flammula or S. torridus.

The following complete description of the sexes has been borrowed from Mr. Elliot’s work above alluded to:—

Male. Upper parts dark bronzy green, lores and ear-coverts rufous, the latter mixed with black. Throat metallic amethystine-red. Breast, middle of abdomen, and under tail-coverts white, flanks dark green, which colour almost meets on the upper part of breast. Tail purplish-black, both webs of middle feathers andinner webs of lateral ones margined with rufous. Wings purplish brown. Bill black. Total length 2\(\frac{3}{4}\) inches, wing 1\(\frac{1}{2}\), tail 1\(\frac{1}{4}\), culmen \(\frac{3}{8}\).

Female. Upper parts bronzy green, margined with rufous on the sides of lower part of back and rump. Throat buffy white, spotted with brown. Breast white. Underparts buff. Middle tail-feathers bronzy green, lateral ones buff with a black bar across their central part. Bill black.

I am indebted to Messrs. Salvin and Godman for the loan of the pair of birds from which the figures in the Plate are taken.


  • Selasphorus ardens, Salvin, Proc. Zool. Soc. 1870, p. 209.—Scel. & Salv. Nomencl. Av. Neotr. p. 84 (1873).—Muls. Hist. Nat. Oiseaux-Mouches, iv. p. 103 (1877).—Elliot, Synopsis of the Humming-Birds, p. 110 (1878).

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