Zoological Illustrations/VolII-Pl83

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Zoological Illustrations
by William Swainson
Vol II. Pl. 83. Trochilus falcatus. Sickle-winged Humming Bird.
Zoological Illustrations Volume II Plate 83.jpg

TROCHILUS falcatus,

Sickle-winged Humming Bird.

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Generic Character.—See Pl. 82.


Specific Character.

T. viridis, gulâ pectoreque nitidè cœruleis; corpore anoque cæruleo-viridibus; rectricibus paribus, rufo-cinnamominis; remigibus exterioribus falcatis, scapis dilatato compressis.
Green; throat and breast shining blue; body and vent blue green; tail even, rufous cinnamon; exterior quills falcated, the shafts dilated and compressed.
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Nothing can exceed the dazzling brilliancy of colours united in this little creature. It is, however, more remarkable from the extraordinary construction of its wings, the outer quills of which are greatly curved, and the shafts dilated to a most disproportionate size; a similar structure occurs also in the Broad-shafted H. B. of Dr. Shaw, (T. latipennis.) That it is intended to fulfil some important office in their economy, will admit of no doubt, for in wisdom are all things made; conjecture must, however, in numberless instances, supply our want of real knowledge; and it may not be improbable that such additional strength in the wings has been given them as a defence against the small birds of prey, (Lanii. Lin.) which abound in tropical countries.

The figure is the size of life; bill curved from the base, with a black stripe between that and the eye; plumage above deep shining green, most brilliant on the sides of the neck; ear feathers blue green; chin and throat of a most brilliant deep violet blue, changing in some lights to purple, becoming greenish on the breast, and blended with the green of the neck; all these feathers are disposed like scales; vent golden green, with two tufts of downy white feathers round the thighs. Tail even, the feathers broad and truncately rounded, of a rufous cinnamon colour, tipt with a purple black bar; the middle feathers darkest, and glossed with green.

Of this rare and unrecorded species, a fine example existed in Mr. Bullock's Museum, which was purchased to enrich that of Paris: another, more imperfect, was sent Mr. Falkner from the Spanish Main. The male of T. latipennis is undescribed, Dr. Shaw having only seen the female; both sexes, however, are in my possession. The plant introduced in the plate (Clitoria Plumieri) is a native of Brazil.