Zoological Illustrations/VolII-Pl82

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Zoological Illustrations Volume II Plate 82.jpg


Black Humming Bird.

Generic Character.

Rostrum elongatum, rectum vel arcuatum, flexile, gracillimum, ad basin depressum, mandibulâ superiore inferiorem amplectente et tantùm non obtegente. Lingua jaculatoria, bifida, tubulata. Nares basales, membranâ tectæ, aperturâ in longum fissâ. Pedes sedentes, minimi. Alæ longissimæ, subarcuatæ, remigibus prioribus longissimis, cæteris gradatim brevioribus.

Typus Genericus T. Moschitus Linn.

Bill long, straight or curved, flexible, very slender, the base depressed, the upper mandible folding over, and almost covering the lower. Tongue long, extensible, bifid, and tubular. Nostrils basal, covered by a membrane, and opening by a long slit. Feet sitting, very small. Wings very long, curved, the outer quill longest, the rest gradually becoming shorter.

Generic Type Ruby-crested Humming Bird Lath.

Specific Character.

T. niger; auribus aliquando rufis; tectricibus, caudâ uropygioque colore subviridi nitidis; rectricium lateralium nivearum apicibus colore chalybeio tinctis.
Black; the ears sometimes rufous; wing covers tail and rump glossed with green; lateral tail feathers snowy, tipt with steel blue.

Like the resplendent jewels of the earth, the Humming Birds are the living gems of the air. United to the most delicate form, these fairies of creation have the dazzling effulgence of every tint that sparkles from the ruby, the topaz, the sapphire, and the emerald, lavished on their plumage; they seem created but for our admiration, to sport in the ardent beams of a tropical sun, and to feast on the nectar of the sweetest blossoms; and, like sparks of many coloured fire, they shoot from flower to flower, exulting in their little life of brightness and pleasure.

To return, however, to that now before us, it should be observed, that it is the only species whose plumage does not in any way accord with that of the rest of its brethren. No author appears to have described it, although I met with it very frequently in Brazil: a specimen in the British Museum has the ears reddish brown, but this seldom occurs. The figure is of the size of life. All the species are natives of tropical America.