Genus Polytmus Briss.

There is no one genus among the Trochilidæ that has more sadly puzzled me, and doubtless other ornithologists, than that containing the two species known under the specific names of virescens and viridissimus (Chrysobronchus virescens and C. viridicaudus of my Plates), no two persons agreeing as to the place they should fill in the family.

Dr. Cabanis, in his ‘Museum Heineanun,’ is of opinion that the generic name of Polytmus, proposed by Brisson in 1760, is the one under which they should be retained. Although I concur in this opinion, I cannot agree with him in placing them near to the genus Glaucis; and I may be open to criticism in ranging them here, but I really cannot find a better situation for them. I have stated that there are two species of this form, but I have some reason to believe there is a third, as I have a small specimen collected by M. Warszewicz on the River Magdalena, which may prove to be distinct; but until I have further evidence that such is the case, I decline to characterize it: independently of its smaller size, it has much more white on the tail than any other I have seen.

The P. virescens and P. viridissimus are the only species yet characterized of this genus. They are distinguished by the golden hues of their throats. A great similarity exists between the sexes; but the young of P. virescens have reddish-brown breasts, and are altogether different in colour from the adults.


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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.