The Mango Humming-bird

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Birds of America

By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.


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[Black-throated Mango.]

[Trochilus mango.]


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.

Adult Male.

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.

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