(Doullens 1809 - Paris 1876)
A Long-Tailed Hermit Hummingbird (Phaethornis superciliosus), a Crimson Topaz Hummingbird (Topaza pella), and a Green-Throated or a Black-Throated Mango Hummingbird (Anthracothorax viridigula or Anthracothorax nigricollis)
Signed and dated Edouard Travies pt. 1835. in the lower margin.
170 x 100 cm. (6 3/4 x 4 in.)
Found in a number of countries across northern South America, the crimson topaz hummingbird lives in the upper and middle canopy of lowland forests, up to around five hundred metres of elevation. They are a sexually dimorphic species - one in which males and females exhibit distinct characteristics from one another - which is most notable in their varied plumage and size. Males are larger and their colouring changes from beak to tail, with a deep crimson purple back, while their bellies and breasts are a vibrant orange-red and their throats are an iridescent green. By contrast, the females are smaller – being just slightly longer than the length of the male’s tail feathers, between thirteen and fourteen centimetres – and they have mostly green plumage with orange outer tail feathers.
The final bird depicted has previously been identified as a green-throated mango hummingbird, but it is equally possible that the bird is a black-throated mango hummingbird. Both species are native to South America and thrive in similar habitats. The plumage of the males and females sharply contrast one another; males are a mixture of iridescent blues and greens, whereas females are green and have white chests with a stipe down their middles. The difficulty of properly identifying the bird in the present sheet is caused by the fact that, based on its colouring, this particular hummingbird is a female, and the plumage of female green-throated and black-throated mango hummingbirds are so inseparably close that it is nearly impossible to tell them apart.
Thence by descent until 1988
Jeanson sale, Monaco, Sotheby’s, 16 June 1988, lot 298
Richard J. Schwartz, Upper Nyack, New York and Lyford Cay, Bahamas
Thence by descent until 2017.