It matters not where we place the single species of the genus Aïthurus (Trochilus Polytmus in the body of the work), since it offers no direct alliance to any one group. It is perhaps the most singular and most aberrant of Humming-Birds: for it departs from all the rest in the form of its wings, the second quill-feather being the longest, while in all the others the first exceeds the rest in length: how different also are its other characters! for instance, the tail is not forked in the usual way, the second feather being lengthened into flowing plumes, which apparently tend more to add to its graceful appearance than to facilitate its aërial evolutions. The young males do not possess this peculiarly formed tail; and the females are so unlike both, that we should not have even suspected their alliance, had we not positive evidence of it. This very isolated form is a native of Jamaica, and there alone is it found. That so large a bird and so very marked a form should be confined to such a limited area is very surprising.
Aïthurus Polytmus (Cab.)
Habitat: JamaicaPlate 98 Trochilus Polytmus Black-capped Humming-bird
It will be seen that I have placed the Trochilus stellatus of Gosse as a synonym of Aïthurus Polytmus; at the same time it is only justice to state that I have never seen a second specimen in a similar state of plumage, and it may be another species. I make this remark with Mr. Gosse’s type specimen before me, it having been kindly presented to me by that gentleman.
Featuring all 422 illustrated species from John Gould’s A Monograph of the Trochilidæ, or Family of Humming-Birds arranged by color.