Thalurania verticeps

Green-crowned Wood-Nymph


It would appear that, as we pass along the great chain of the Andes from north to south, or wce versa, every few degrees of latitude present us with a distinct species of Thalurania; I say distinct, because in no group are the specific characters more decidedly different or more clearly defined than in the members of the present genus.

Of all the known species, the T. verticeps, a native of Ecuador and Peru, is the most southern representative of the form in those elevated regions. The specimens I possess were principally procured by Professor Jameson in the neighbourhood of Quito. I have also received others from the Napo, and M. Warszewicz obtained examples in the Cordilleras of Quindios. It is a fine and truly elegant species, differing from all others in the resplendent glittering green of its crown, bounded posteriorly in some specimens by a narrow mark of blue, occupying a single, or at most two or three feathers. On the shoulder the purplish blue is most brilliant, while in the centre of the back the colour is generally absent. The specimens collected at Quindios are smaller than those procured in the neighbourhood of Quito and the Napo, and accord precisely with the bird to which M. Bourcier has given the name of Fanny. Some persons might be inclined to believe that these birds are distinct, but as they merely differ in size, I shall consider them to be one and the same until corroborating evidence of their being two species has been received. The specific term Fanny given to this bird by M. Bourcier having been previously assigned by Lesson to another member of the family, Dr. Reichenbach substituted in 1853 the appellation of Lydia; verticeps had, however, been given to it by myself two years before, consequently it has the priority, and is necessarily the one adopted. The female, of which I have seen several examples, assimilates very closely to the females of T. furcata and the other smaller members of the group; the grey of the throat is, however, rather more circumscribed.

Forehead and anterior portion of the head occupied by a round spot of shining green; throat and breast shining green; back of the head, neck, back, rump and upper tail-coverts dark glossy green, with a wash of bronze on the back of the neck; shoulders metallic blue, passing into green; wings purplish black; tail greenish black, and considerably forked; abdomen dark glossy blue; under tail-coverts greenish blue, margined with white; tarsi clothed with greyish-white feathers; bill black; feet fleshy brown.

The figures are of the natural size. The plant is the Clavia ornata.


  • Trochilus (Thalurania) verticeps, Gould, in Jard. Cont. to Orn. 1851, p. 79. pl. 71.
  • Thalurania verticeps, Gould, in Proc. of Zool. Soc., part xx. p. 9.—Bonap. Rev. et Mag. de Zool. 1854, p. 254.
  • Trochilus Fanny, Boure. et De Latt. Rev. Zool. 1846, p. 310.
  • Hylocharis Fannyi, Gray and Mitch. Gen. of Birds, vol. i. p. 114, Hylocharis, sp. 20.
  • Thalurama Lydia, Reichenb. Aufz. der Colibris, p. 7.
  • Riccordia verticeps, Reichenb. Autz. der Colibris, p. 8.

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