There is scarcely a more isolated form in the family of Trochilidæ than that for which the generic name of Lafresnaya was proposed by Bonaparte in honour of the venerable Baron de Lafresnaye; and it gives me great pleasure to assist in perpetuating the name of a French nobleman, lately deceased, who devoted the leisure hours of a long life to the pleasing study of natural history.
Strictly confined to the Andes, one of the species is quite equatorial, the others fly several degrees further north. The males are very boldly coloured, the brilliant green of their throats and flanks being beautifully relieved by the velvety black of the abdomen. The females have none of these contrasted colours, their entire undersurface being spangled with green on a white or a buff ground. The species known are very much alike except in the colouring and markings of the tail,—one of them having the four outer feathers white tipped with purplish black, while the same feathers in another are buff tipped with bronzy brown, and the tail of the third is white tipped with greenish bronze.
Habitat: The high lands of New Granada. Common at Bogota and Popayan; and probably in the northern parts of Ecuador.Plate 85 Lafresnaya flavicaudata Buff-tailed Velvet-breast
Habitat: Ecuador and PeruPlate 86 Lafresnaya Gayi White-tailed Velvet-breast
Habitat: Unknown: supposed to be Popayan
Since writing my account of Lafresnaya Gayi I have received many additional examples, all of which had white tails tipped with purplish black; but I possess fully adult examples of a white-tailed bird named Saulæ, by M. Bourcier, in which the tippings are bronzy green. My specimens were brought by Delattre; but from what locality, is unknown. The difference mentioned seems to warrant the belief that the bird is distinct; and I therefore give it a place in this synopsis, notwithstanding the opinion to the contrary expressed in my account of L. Gayi.
Featuring all 422 illustrated species from John Gould’s A Monograph of the Trochilidæ, or Family of Humming-Birds arranged by color.