Spathura Peruana

Peruvian Racket-tail

Moyobamba in Peru

This fine species is at present so rare that few examples have come under my notice; of these, one brought from Peru by Dr. Tschudi is in the Museum at Neufchatel, and another, procured at Moyabamba, in the same country, by the late Mr. Mathews, graces the Loddigesian collection at Hackney.

Dr. Tschudi informs me that he procured three examples of this beautiful species during his travels in Peru: the first between the 11th and 12 degrees of south latitude, on the mountain of Moyabamba, where it was fluttering around the flowers of a new species of Cactus; the second on the road from Santa Maria de Cruces to Andamarca in the province of Tanja, on the banks of the little river Ancasyacu; and the third at Chilpes on the mountain of Veloe, in the province of Parma, at an elevation of more than 3000 feet: he adds that it is a rare species, and was not even known to the Indian hunters of Moyabamba; upon examining their stomachs he found them to contain the remains of small hymenopterous insects.

The S. Peruana differs from the S. rufocaligata in the greater length of the lateral tail-feathers and in their terminal spatules being of a more oval shape; the ruffs of red feathers clothing the tarsi are also of a larger size and of a somewhat deeper tint; it is, in fact, a species intermediate in form between S. rufocaligata and S. Underwoodi.

The male has all the upper and under surface bronzy green; throat and chest rich lustrous metallic green; wings and tail brown, the spatules of the lateral feathers black with green reflexions; ruff clothing the tarsi rufous; bill black; feet yellow.

Total length, 5 inches; bill, \(\frac{5}{8}\); wing, 1\(\frac{3}{4}\); tail, 3\(\frac{1}{8}\).

The female has the upper surface bronzy green, the green predominating on the two central tail-feathers; lateral tail-feathers brown, the outer one on each side tipped with white, the remainder washed with green at the tip; under surface white, spotted on the throat, sides of the neck and flanks with pale shining green; ruff clothing the tarsi and the under tail-coverts deep buff; bill black; feet yellowish brown.

Total length, 3\(\frac{1}{4}\) inches; bill, \(\frac{5}{8}\); wing, 1\(\frac{5}{8}\); tail, 1\(\frac{1}{4}\).

The figures represent three males and a female on a species of Dadea from Peru, obligingly lent me by Mr. Cuming.


  • Spathura Peruana, Gould in Proc. of Zool. Soc. 1849.

More hummingbirds in the genus Spathura

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.