Purple-backed Sunbeam / Aglaeactis aliciae

Purple-backed Sunbeam / Aglaeactis aliciae

Purple-backed Sunbeam

SCI Name:  Aglaeactis aliciae
Protonym:  Agaeactis aliciae Bull.Br.Orn.Club 5 p.24
Taxonomy:  Caprimulgiformes / Trochilidae /
Taxonomy Code:  pubsun1
Type Locality:  Suecha, 10,000 feet, Peru.
Publish Year:  1896
IUCN Status:  


(Trochilidae; Ϯ Shining Sunbeam A. cupreipennis) Gr. αγλαια aglaia  splendour, magnificence  < αγλαος aglaos  splendid; ακτις aktis, ακτινος aktinos  sunbeam; "Genus AGLÆACTIS.  ...   Gen. char. — Bill rather short, a little depressed at the base and straight; nostrils basal; wings long and powerful; primaries, particularly the outer one, sickle-shaped; tail moderately large and slightly forked when closed; feet strong and powerful; tarsi partially clothed with feathers; hind-toe and nail longer than the middle toe and nail.  Types, Trochilus cupripennis and T. Pamela." (Gould 1848); "Aglæactis Gould, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, pt. 16, 1848, p. 11. Type, by subsequent designation, Trochilus cupripennis Bourcier. (Elliot, Classif. Syn. Trochil., 1879, p. 185.)...  1 G. R. Gray, Cat. Gen. Subgen. Bds., 1855, p. 22 designates Trochilus cupriventris Bourcier as type of this genus. Doubtless this is a lapsus for cupripennis, nevertheless the designation is invalid since cupriventris is a nomen nudum." (Peters 1945, V, 95).  Gould's dry diagnosis belies a typical hummingbird epithet, the scientific names and English names given to these brilliant small birds reflecting their iridescent plumages and sometimes gaudy, even bizarre, ornamentation. The nineteenth century saw the blossoming of trochilidomania, the passion for collecting and describing new species of hummingbirds. In the years between 1830 and 1860 over 52% of all hummingbird species were described, as specialist collectors (or trochilidists) like John Gould, Jules Bourcier and George Loddiges vied to have the largest collection of specimens, regardless of cost (Gould paid £20 for a specimen of Oreonympha nobilis in 1868 (when a London labourer's wage was about £1.50 per week, and a farm-worker's 60p per week)).

alice / alicei / aliciae
● Dame Alice Mary Godman née Chaplin (1868-1944) Deputy President of the British Red Cross Society, and second wife of English ornithologist Frederick DuCane Godman (Mark Brown in litt.) (Aglaeactis).
Anita Alice Mathilde Robinson née Phinney (1860-1918) US socialite, wife of explorer Col. Wirt Robinson (subsp. Amazilia tobaci).
● Alice Mary Kennicott (fl. 1858) sister of US naturalist Robert Kennicott (subsp. Catharus minimus).
● "Adult male similar to C. pareola regina Scl., but back and scapulars markedly paler, Alice Blue instead of Parula Blue" (Hellmayr & Gyldenstolpe 1937) (Björn Bergenholtz in litt.); "Alice blue is a pale tint of azure that was favored by Alice Roosevelt Longworth [1884-1980], daughter of Theodore Roosevelt, which [1902] sparked a fashion sensation in the United States" (Wikipedia accessed 23.10.2014) (syn. Chiroxiphia pareola regina).
● Alice or Alys of France (1160-?1220) daughter of Louis VII of France, Comtesse du Vexin, Comtesse de Ponthieu, betrothed to Richard I the Lionheart of England, and a popular figure in fiction (said to have joined Saladin's forces in revenge for Richard's rejection!) The Richmond Card Index records, “Possibly for Sallé’s mother” (who accompanied the entomologist Auguste Sallé on his expeditions; however, Sallé's mother was Catherine Sallé née Caillard (Martin Schneider in litt.)) (subsp. Chlorostilbon poortmani).