Leptocoma Cabanis, Mus. Hein., i, p. 104 (1850).
Type, Leptocoma hasselti Temm. = L. brasiliana Gmelin.
I can find no good characters by which this rather large and cumbersome group can be split up into more than one genus. Shelley's five groups of his genus Cinnyris depend entirely on colour and, even in this respect, are very contradictory. There appear to be two characters which, if constant, could have been used as generic. These are, first, the presence or absence of breast tufts in the male and, secondly, the open or concealed condition of the nostrils. The first character at once separates five of our Indian forms which seem in every respect congeneric with Cyrtostomus jugularis, leaving three forms which have no tufts, minima, hasselti (=brasiliana), and zeylonica under Leptocoma. On the other hand, these two genera would each have some species with open nostrils and others with the nostrils covered with an operculum. L. zeylonica also in its life-history and general .appearance is far more allied to the Cyrtostomus group than to the thus restricted Leptocoma group. Under these circumstances I retain all our species under the genus name Leptocoma which has page priority over Cyrtostomus and Arachnechthra. This genus has a post-breeding moult of all the body-feathers, when a plumage very similar to that of the female is acquired.
Key to Species.
A. Chin and throat dark-coloured and metallic. \
a. Abdomen dark-coloured.
a1. Upper plumage uniform in colour.
a2. A maroon baud across the chest………..L. lotenia, p. 394.
b2. No maroon band across the chest………..L. asiatica, p. 396.
b. Upper plumage varied; green, black and blue………..L. brasiliana, p. 400.
b. Abdomen yellow.
c1. Back olive-yellow.
c2. Forehead and fore-crown violet-blue………..L. ornata, p. 401.
d2. Forehead and fore-crown like back………..L. flammaxillaris,
d1. Back crimson, [p. 408.
e2. Upper tail-coverts metallic red………..L. minima, p. 405.
f2. Upper tail-coverts metallic purple………..L. zeylonica, p. 406.
B. Chin and throat pale and nob metallic. Females,
c. Entire lower plumage yellow.
e1. Rump and upper tail-coverts like the back.
g2. Lateral tail-feathers broadly tipped with white………..L. lotenia, p. 394.
h2. Lateral tail-feathers narrowly tipped with white.
a3. Lower plumage rich yellow………..L. ornata, p. 402.
b3. Lower plumage pale yellow.
a4. Bill under 16mm………..L. brasiliana, p. 400.
b4. Bill over 16 mm a3. Lateral tail-feathers with narrow white tips………..L. asiatica, p. 396.
b3. Lateral tail-feathers with broad white tips………..L. Flammaxillaris, [p. 403.
f1. Rump and upper tail-coverts red………..L. minima., p. 405.
d. Chin and throat ashy-white, remaining lower plumage bright yellow………..L. zeylonica, p. 406.