(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)).

Search for more names on the Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology by James A. Jobling.
Recommended citation
Jobling, J. A. (2019). Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology. In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.) (2019). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 16 January 2019).