Genus Cometes Gould

As the Lesbiæ naturally led us on to the Cynanthi, so do the latter in their broad tail-feathers offer an alliance to the Cometæ; and, however much I have extolled the beauty of any of the preceding genera, it is scarcely possible to select terms sufficiently expressive to convey an idea of the loveliness of the birds comprised in this latter genus. The two birds generally known under the names of Sappho and Phaon are par excellence the most gorgeous birds in existence so far as regards the colouring of their tails; and well do these living meteors deserve the more general name of Comets.

Generic characters.

Male.Bill longer than the head, straight or slightly arched; wings moderate; tail long and deeply forked, the feathers broad and luminous; tarsi naked; feet small; hind toe and nail nearly as long as the middle toe and nail; throat luminous.

Female.—Smaller in size, and nearly destitute of fine colouring.

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Featuring all 422 illustrated species from John Gould’s A Monograph of the Trochilidæ, or Family of Humming-Birds arranged by color.