Male.— Bill straight and of moderate length; wings moderate; tail rather large and rounded; tarsi bare; feet rather large; hind toe and nail as long or longer than the middle toe and nail; throat and under surface of the tail luminous, like shining metal.
Female.—Much less brilliant than the male, and in most of the species destitute of the luminous throat-mark.
All the members of this genus are tenants of the Andes, and by far the greater portion of them of Bolivia and Peru; one species, however (the M. tyrianthina), ranges over the whole of the temperate portions of New Granada. I now proceed to arrange the species according to their affinities, commencing with the largest and most gorgeously coloured.
Metallura cupreicauda (Gould)
Habitat: BoliviaPlate 191 Metallura cupreicauda Coppery-Tail
Metallura æneicauda (Gould)
Habitat: BoliviaPlate 192 Metallura æneicauda Brassy Tail
Habitat: PopayanPlate 193 Metallura Williami Purple-Tail
Metallura Primolii (Bonap.)
Habitat: PeruPlate 194 Metallura Primolinus Primoli’s Humming-Bird
Metallura tyrianthina (Bonap.)
Habitat: New GranadaPlate 195 Metallura tyrianthina Tyrian-Tail
Metallura Quitensis (Gould)
In my account of Metallura tyrianthina, I have given that bird a very wide range of habitat, extending from the Gulf of Darien to Ecuador; but having since had ample opportunities for examining numerous specimens from every locality, I find that the birds from Ecuador are so much larger than those from Bogota that I cannot do otherwise than regard them as distinct. In examples from the two localities mentioned, there is a difference of more than half an inch in the length of their wings, and fully an eighth in the length of their bills; I observe also that the small birds from Bogota are much more richly coloured than the larger ones from Ecuador; the throat is of a more beautiful green, the abdomen much darker, and the reddish-purple of the tail more resplendent; believing the Ecuadorian bird to be distinct, I have no alternative but to give it a name, and I therefore propose for it that of Quitensis.
Habitat: Peru and BoliviaPlate 196 Metallura smaragdinicollis Violet-Tail
Featuring all 422 illustrated species from John Gould’s A Monograph of the Trochilidæ, or Family of Humming-Birds arranged by color.