We now come to that section to which Bonaparte gave the generic name of Pygmornis.
As the term implies, these birds are all extremely diminutive; so minute, indeed, are they, that, if subjected to the balance, their tiny bodies must be weighed by grains. That these mites of birds perform some important office in the scale of nature is certain, from the number both of species and individuals: they are very widely dispersed over every part of the great country which is inhabited by this extensive family of birds; with the exception of one species, however (the P. Adolphi), they all fly to the southward of the Isthmus of Panama. How minute must be the insects taken by these diminutive birds, how perfect must be their vision, and how delicately sensitive must be their tongue!
The only external difference between the sexes consists in the longer and more graduated tails of the females; in colour they are as nearly alike as possible.
Habitat: Cayenne, Guiana, Trinidad, and the eastern part of Venezuela.Plate 31 Phaëthornis Longuemareus Longuemare’s Hermit
Habitat: Banks of the River NapoPlate 32 Phaëthornis Amaura Amaura Hermit
Habitat: Brazil and PeruPlate 33 Phaëthornis viridicaudata Green-tailed Hermit
Pygmornis zonura (Gould)
Habitat: PeruPlate 34 Paëthornis zonura Southern Hermit
Habitat: Central AmericaPlate 35 Phaëthornis Adolphi Adolph’s Hermit
“This,” says Mr. Salvin, “is an abundant species in the forest about Yzabal, but the density of the under growth renders it extremely difficult to obtain a shot at so small and active an object. The bird is by no means shy, and takes but little notice of an observer—even searching the flowers almost within arm’s reach for the insects and honey therein contained. In movement it is extremely elegant and graceful, and, flitting from flower to flower, shows its beautifully-formed tail conspicuously in every motion. Like all others of its family, it selects a small twig for its perch, giving preference to a dead one. While at rest it trims its feathers dexterously with its bill, which every now and then it cleans by rubbing it first on one side and then on the other of the twig on which it stands.”—Ibis, vol. i. p. 127.
Pygmornis griseogularis (Gould)
Habitat: New Granada; and Ecuador?Plate 36 Phæthornis griseogularis Grey-throated Hermit
In my description of this species I have inadvertently stated that it has a crescent of black across the breast, which is not the case.
Mr. Bell of New York informs me that he has heard the “little Pygmornis of Panama” (by which I believe the present bird is intended) “sing beautifully, the notes forming a soft, shrill, and pretty song.”
Pygmornis striigularis (Gould)
Habitat: New GranadaPlate 37 Phaëthornis striigularis Stripe-throated Hermit
Habitat: BrazilPlate 38 Phaëthornis obscura Obscure Hermit
Habitat: The forests bordering the upper part of the River AmazonPlate 39 Phaëthornis nigricinctus Belted Hermit
Pygmornis Episcopus (Gould)
Habitat: British GuianaPlate 39 Phaëthornis Episcopus Bishop Hermit
The above list of synonyms are given on the authority of Dr. Cabanis: it is just possible that they may refer to the female of my P. Episcopus; but I fear that this cannot at present be satisfactorily determined.
Pygmornis Eremita (Gould)
Habitat: Northern Brazil, Bahia, the banks of the Lower AmazonPlate 40 Phaëthornis Eremita Little Hermit
Habitat: South-eastern BrazilPlate 41 Phaëthornis pygmæus Pigmy Hermit
Featuring all 422 illustrated species from John Gould’s A Monograph of the Trochilidæ, or Family of Humming-Birds arranged by color.