Genus Doryfera Gould

Those who have not closely studied the Humming-Birds have but little idea how diversified are their forms; the birds next to be considered are unlike all the other members of the family. The species are short, thick-set birds, with a very peculiar style of plumage, have their crowns plated with metal-like feathers, and bills as straight and sharp as needles; and woe to any bird, I should say, which gave offence to the members of this genus.

I am exceedingly puzzled with respect to the species of this form; that is, I am at a loss to determine whether they are two, three, four, or five in number. First, with regard to D. Johanne, whose under-surface is black, and frontal mark violet-blue; I have always regarded this colouring as indicative of the adult, but I am in doubt whether the skins which frequently accompany them from Bogota, and which assimilate in size and form, but differ in having a green frontlet and a dull-green upper and under surface, are the females or young males of this bird, or if they be distinct. Of the D. Ludoviciæ, which comes from Bogota, I have many examples, all of which are very uniform in size and style of colouring. From Quito I have another bird assimilating to the D. Ludoviciæ most closely in colouring, but which is about a fifth larger in all its admeasurements. Accompanying the specimens from this latter locality is one without any frontal mark whatever; in other respects it is precisely like the rest, and, I am sure, is a fully adult bird. Is this the female of the Quitan birds, or a distinct species? I have never seen examples in this state of plumage among the numerous specimens sent from Bogota. I think I shall be right in regarding the Ecuadorian bird as distinct, and I therefore propose for it the name of rectirostris.

Generic characters.

Male.Bill long, basal half straight, apical half inclined upwards and pointed; wings of moderate size; tail rounded, the feathers broad and rigid; tarsi partly clothed; hind toe and nail as long as the middle toe and nail; forehead luminous; plumage adpressed.

Female.—I believe the female is destitute of the forehead-mark; but this is uncertain.


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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.