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Trogonidae

Masked Trogon Trogon personatus ©Ian Montgomery Website

The Trogonidae or trogons and quetzals are birds in the order Trogoniformes which contains only one family.. The family contains 43 species in seven genera. The fossil record of the trogons dates back 49 million years to the Early Eocene. They might constitute a member of the basal radiation of the order Coraciiformes or be closely related to mousebirds and owls. The word 'trogon' is Greek for 'nibbling' and refers to the fact that they gnaw holes in trees to make their nests.

They are residents of tropical forests worldwide. The greatest diversity is in the Neotropics, where four genera, containing 28 species occur. The genus Apaloderma contains the three African species. The genera Harpactes and Apalharpactes, containing twelve species, are found in southeast Asia.

They feed on insects and fruit, and their broad bills and weak legs reflect their diet and arboreal habits. Although their flight is fast, they are reluctant to fly any distance. Trogons are generally not migratory, although some species undertake partial local movements. Theyhave soft, often colourful, feathers with distinctive male and female plumage. They are the only type of animal with a heterodactyl toe arrangement. They nest in holes dug into trees or termite nests, laying 2–4 white or pastel-coloured eggs.

According to the IOC there are 43 species in this family, which are:

Eared Quetzal Euptilotis neoxenus

Pavonine Quetzal Pharomachrus pavoninus
Golden-headed Quetzal Pharomachrus auriceps
White-tipped Quetzal Pharomachrus fulgidus
Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno
Crested Quetzal Pharomachrus antisianus

Cuban Trogon Priotelus temnurus
Hispaniolan Trogon Priotelus roseigaster

Lattice-tailed Trogon Trogon clathratus
Slaty-tailed Trogon Trogon massena
Choco Trogon Trogon comptus
Ecuadorian Trogon Trogon mesurus
Black-tailed Trogon Trogon melanurus
Black-headed Trogon Trogon melanocephalus
Citreoline Trogon Trogon citreolus
White-tailed Trogon Trogon chionurus
Baird's Trogon Trogon bairdii
Green-backed Trogon Trogon viridis
Gartered Trogon Trogon caligatus
Amazonian Trogon Trogon ramonianus
Guianan Trogon Trogon violaceus
Blue-crowned Trogon Trogon curucui
Surucua Trogon Trogon surrucura
Black-throated Trogon Trogon rufus
Elegant Trogon Trogon elegans
Mountain Trogon Trogon mexicanus
Collared Trogon Trogon collaris
Masked Trogon Trogon personatus

Narina Trogon Apaloderma narina
Bare-cheeked Trogon Apaloderma aequatoriale
Bar-tailed Trogon Apaloderma vittatum

Javan Trogon Apalharpactes reinwardtii
Sumatran Trogon Apalharpactes mackloti

Malabar Trogon Harpactes fasciatus
Red-naped Trogon Harpactes kasumba
Diard's Trogon Harpactes diardii
Philippine Trogon Harpactes ardens
Whitehead's Trogon Harpactes whiteheadi
Cinnamon-rumped Trogon Harpactes orrhophaeus
Scarlet-rumped Trogon Harpactes duvaucelii
Orange-breasted Trogon Harpactes oreskios
Red-headed Trogon Harpactes erythrocephalus
Ward's Trogon Harpactes wardi

Family Links

Trogons Trogonidae

Family Account

Full family account…

Trogons Trogonidae

HBW Family Account

List with links to all 43 species…

Trogons Trogonidae

Family Account

The trogons and quetzals are birds in the order Trogoniformes which contains only one family, the Trogonidae. The family contains 39 species in seven genera. The fossil record of the trogons dates back 49 million years to the Early Eocene.

Species Links

Elegant Trogon Trogon elegans

Species Account

The elegant trogon (Trogon elegans) (formerly the "coppery-tailed" trogon), is a near passerine bird in the trogon family.[2] Along with the eared quetzal, it is the most poleward-occurring species of trogon in the world, ranging from Guatemala in the south as far north as the upper Gila River in Arizona and New Mexico.

Elegant Trogon Trogon elegans

Cornell Species Account

Many kinds of trogons live in tropical forests, but only one species regularly occurs in North America. Easily recognized by their metallic-green and rose-red colors, as well as their unusual stout-bodied, square-tailed profile, Elegant Trogons are a prized sighting for birders who visit southeastern Arizona.

Elegant Trogon Trogon elegans

BirdLife Species Account

Elegant Trogon Trogon elegans

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Trogon elegans Gould, 1834, Guatemala. Possibly closest to T. curucui, T. rufus, T. mexicanus, T. collaris and T. personatus; DNA studies suggest that T. rufus, T. collaris and T. personatus may be nearest relatives. Usually considered conspecific with T. ambiguus. Birds in El Salvador and Honduras intermediate between nominate and lubricus. Two subspecies recognized.

Elegant Trogon Trogon elegans

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Guianan Trogon Trogon violaceus

Species Account

The Guianan trogon (Trogon violaceus), is a near passerine bird in the trogon family, Trogonidae. It is found in humid forests in the Amazon basin of South America and on the island of Trinidad. Until recently, this species, the gartered trogon (T. caligatus) of Mexico, Central America, and northern South America, and the Amazonian trogon (T. ramonianus) of the western Amazon were all considered to be conspecific and collectively called violaceous trogon.

Guianan Trogon Trogon violaceus

Cornell Species Account

The Guianan Trogon was recently split from Violaceous Trogon along with Gartered Trogon and Amazonian Trogon and ranges from Venezuela, the Guianas, northern Brazil to the island of Trinidad.

Guianan Trogon Trogon violaceus

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Trogon violaceus J. F. Gmelin, 1788, no locality = Suriname.

Guianan Trogon Trogon violaceus

BirdLife Species Account

Guianan Trogon Trogon violaceus

IUCN Species Status

Guianan Trogon Trogon violaceus

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Masked Trogon Trogon personatus

Species Account

The masked trogon (Trogon personatus) is a species of bird in the family Trogonidae. It is fairly common in humid highland forests in South America, mainly the Andes and tepuis.

Masked Trogon Trogon personatus

BirdLife Species Account

Masked Trogon Trogon personatus

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Trogon personata Gould, 1842, Choachí (1996 m), Colombia.

Masked Trogon Trogon personatus

Cornell Species Account

The Masked Trogon is a widespread species of humid montane forests in South America.

Masked Trogon Trogon personatus

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Narina Trogon Apaloderma narina

Species Account

The Narina trogon (Apaloderma narina) is a largely green and red, medium-sized (32–34 cm long), bird of the family Trogonidae. It is native to forests and woodlands of the Afrotropics. Though it is the most widespread and catholic in habitat choice of the three Apaloderma species, their numbers are locally depleted due to deforestation.[2] Some populations are sedentary while others undertake regular movements. The species name commemorates Narina, mistress of French ornithologist François Levaillant, whose name he derived from a Khoikhoi word for "flower",[3] as her given name was difficult to pronounce.

Narina Trogon Apaloderma narina

BirdLife Species Account

Narina Trogon Apaloderma narina

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Trogon Narina Stephens, 1815, Knysna District, Western Cape Province, South Africa. Recent molecular data suggest that this species and A. aequatoriale are sister-taxa. Races arcanum and rufiventre sometimes synonymized with nominate. Six subspecies recognized.

Narina Trogon Apaloderma narina

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno

Species Account

The resplendent quetzal (pronunciation: /ˈkɛtsəl/) (Pharomachrus mocinno) is a bird in the trogon family. It is found from Chiapas, Mexico to western Panama (unlike the other quetzals of the genus Pharomachrus, which are found in South America and eastern Panama). It is well-known for its colorful plumage. There are two subspecies, P. m. mocinno and P. m. costaricensis.

Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno

Cornell Species Account

Across time and cultures, the Resplendent Quetzal has been heralded for its great beauty. With an iridescent green sheen and uppertail covert feathers longer than its entire body, the bird has attracted much attention from pre-Columbian peoples, ornithologists, collectors, market hunters, and birders.

Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno

BirdLife Species Account

Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno

IUCN Species Status

Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno

HBW Species Account

Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

White-tipped Quetzal Pharomachrus fulgidus

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

White-tipped Quetzal Pharomachrus fulgidus

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Trogon fulgidus Gould, 1838, Guiana? = northern Venezuela. Has been considered possibly to form a group with P. pavoninus and P. auriceps or with P. mocinno and P. antisianus. Two subspecies recognized.

White-tipped Quetzal Pharomachrus fulgidus

Species Account

The white-tipped quetzal (Pharomachrus fulgidus) is a species of bird in the family Trogonidae. It is found in Venezuela, Colombia, and Guyana. In Venezuela and Colombia, three separated ranges occur, all contiguous and on the northern coasts. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.

White-tipped Quetzal Pharomachrus fulgidus

Cornell Species Account

The White-tipped Quetzal occurs in the Santa Marta mountains of northern Colombia and in the mountain ranges of northern Venezuela. Ranging form 900 to 2500 meters, it occurs in a wide variety of habitats from sub-tropical to temperate forests, cloud forests, secondary growth and forest edge.

White-tipped Quetzal Pharomachrus fulgidus

BirdLife Species Account

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 43

Useful Reading

Trogons: A Natural History of the Trogonidae

Joseph M. Forshaw | Illustrated by Albert Earl Gilbert | Hardcover | 2009 | 304pp | 75 colour illustrations

ISBN: 9788496553514

Buy this book from NHBS.com