Metallura Williami



The rich and little known country of Popayan, in New Grenada, is the favourite residence or habitat of this rare species, which is in every respect a true Metallura, and which, even with the most careless glance, cannot be confounded with any one of the already known species.

In size it is intermediate between M. smaragdinicollis and M. æneicauda; but it differs from those, and every other species of the genus, in its sombre or obscure style of colouring, and particularly in the deep and peculiar violaceous blue colouring of the tail.

With regard to any difference in the plumage of the sexes, I can say but little. The specimen in my collection, which is supposed to be a female, has the entire under surface mottled with green and buff; in other respects she is similarly clothed to the male.

This species has been named in honour of Mr. William S. Wilson of Paris, brother of Dr. T. B. Wilson of Philadelphia, who has so largely enriched the fine collection of natural history in the Academy of Sciences of that city.

The male has the head and the whole of the upper and under surface and wing-coverts deep green, a very small spot of greyish white behind the eye; on the throat the green is lighter and brilliant; tail sordid purplish green above, beneath deep violet; bill black.

The female is very similar, but has no trace of the bright green on the throat. The description of this sex is necessarily imperfect, as I have only an indifferent specimen to describe from.

The figures are of the natural size. The plant is the Macleania punctata.


  • Trochilus Williami, Bourc. et De Latt. Rev. Zool. 1846, p. 308.
  • Mellisuga Williami, Gray and Mitch. Gen. of Birds, vol. i. p. 112, Mellisuga, sp. 38.
  • Metallura William, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av., p. 75, Metallura, sp. 5.—Reich. Auf. der Col., p. 8.
  • Metallura william, Bonap. Rev. Zool. 1854, p. 253.

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