Birds of America
By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.
THE MANGO HUMMING-BIRD.
TROCHILUS MANGO, Linn.
PLATE CCLI.--MALES AND FEMALE.
I am indebted to my learned friend the Reverend JOHN BACHMAN for this
species of Humming-bird, of which he received a specimen from our mutual friend
Dr. STROBEL, and afterwards presented it to me.
"Hitherto," says he, "it has been supposed that only one species of
Humming-bird (the Trochilus Colubris) ever visits the United States. Although
this is a genus consisting of upwards of a hundred species, all of which are
peculiar to the Continent of America and the adjoining islands, yet with few
exceptions they are confined to the tropics. In those warm climates, where the
Bignonias and other tubular flowers that bloom throughout the year, and
innumerable insects that sport in the sun-shine, afford an abundance of food,
these lively birds are the greatest ornaments of the gardens and forests. Such
in most cases is the brilliancy of their plumage, that I am unable to find apt
objects of comparison unless I resort to the most brilliant gems and the richest
metals. So rapid is their flight that they seem to outstrip the wind. Almost
always on the wing, we scarcely see them in any other position. Living on the
honeyed sweets of the most beautiful flowers, and the minute insects concealed
in their corollas, they come to us as etherial beings, and it is not surprising
that they should have excited the wonder and admiration of mankind.
"It affords me great pleasure to introduce to the lovers of Natural History
this species of Humming-bird as an inhabitant of the United States. The
specimen which is now in my possession, was obtained by Dr. STROBEL at Key West
in East Florida. He informed me that he had succeeded in capturing it from a
bush where he had found it seated, apparently wearied after its long flight
across the Gulf of Mexico, probably from some of the West India Islands, or the
coast of South America. Whether this species is numerous in any part of
Florida, I have had no means of ascertaining. The interior of that territory,
as its name indicates, is the land of flowers, and consequently well suited to
the peculiar habits of this genus; and as it has seldom been visited by
ornithologists, it is possible that not only this, but several other species of
Humming-birds, may yet be discovered as inhabitants of our southern country.
"I have not seen the splendid engravings of this genus by Messrs. VIEILLOT
and AUDEBERT, in which the Trochilus Mango is said to be figured; but from the
description contained in LATHAM'S Synopsis and SHAW'S Zoology, I have no
hesitation in pronouncing it an individual of that species."
The female figure introduced in the plate was taken from a specimen
procured at Charleston; but whether it had been found in the United States or
not, could not be ascertained.
TROCHILUS MANGO, Linn. Syst. Nat., vol. i. p. 191.
MANGO HUMMING-BIRD, Trochilus mango, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. ii. P. 480.
Male, 4 3/4, 8.
Florida Keys. Rare. Migratory.
Bill long, subulate, depressed at the base, slightly arched, flexible;
upper mandible with the back broad and convex, the sides sloping, the edges
soft; lower mandible with the angle extremely acute, forming a groove for
one-half of its length, the remaining part narrower on the back, the sides
erect; both mandibles deeply channelled internally, nostrils basal, lateral,
linear. Head small, neck short, body short, moderately robust. Feet very short
and feeble; tarsus very short, roundish; toes very small, the three anterior
united at the base, scutellate above, compressed, differing little in length;
claws small, arched, compressed, acute.
Plumage soft and blended. Wings long, extremely narrow, falciform, the
first quill longest, the other primaries gradually diminishing in length; the
secondaries extremely short, narrow, and rounded. Tail ample, rather long, of
ten broad rounded feathers, the outer incurvate.
Bill black. Iris brown. Feet dusky. Head, hind-neck and back splendent
with bronze, golden, and green reflections; wings dusky, viewed in certain
lights deep purplish-brown. Middle tail-feathers black, glossed with green and
blue, the rest deep crimson-purple, tipped and partially margined with
steel-blue. Fore part of the neck, and middle of the breast, velvet-black,
margined on each side with emerald-green, the sides yellowish-green.
Length 4 3/4 inches, extent of wings 8; bill 1; tarsus (2 1/2)/12.