Genus Oxypogon Gould

Distinct from every other genus are the two species of Oxypogon. These bearded birds stand quite alone among the Trochilidæ; and although not remarkable for brilliancy of colour, their fantastic markings, towering crests, and lengthened beards render them very conspicuous objects. I shall not be surprised if other species of this form be discovered when the higher peaks of the great Andean range of mountains have been more closely examined.

For a long time the Oxypogon Guerini was the only species known; but in the year 1842 the intrepid traveller Mons. J. Linden ascended the high mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Merida, and was rewarded by the discovery of the second species, which bears his name.

Generic characters.

Male.Bill shorter than the head, feeble, and straight; face both above and below ornamented with lengthened: plumes, the former erect, the latter pendent; wings rather long; tail large and forked when closed; tarsi bare; feet large and strong; hind toe and nail longer than the middle toe and nail.

Female.—Smaller, and destitute of the ornamental face-plumes.


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