Black-headed Trogon (Trogon melanocephalus)

Black-headed Trogon

[order] TROGONIFORMES | [family] Trogonidae | [latin] Trogon melanocephalus | [authority] Gould, 1836 | [UK] Black-headed Trogon | [FR] Trogon a tete noire | [DE] Schwarzkopf-Trogon | [ES] Trogon Cabecinegro, Coa- Coa Cabecinegra (HN) | [NL] Zwartkoptrogon


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Trogon melanocephalus MA se Mexico to n Costa Rica


The Neotropical Trogoninae, containing four genera, Trogon, Priotelus, Pharomachrus and Eupilotis. The two Caribbean species of Priotelus were formerly different ones (Temnotrogon on Hispaniola), and are extremely ancient. The two quetzal genera, Pharomachrus and Eupilotis are possibly derived from the final and most numerous genus of trogons in the Neotropics, Trogon. A 2008 study of the genetics of Trogon suggested the genus originated in Central America and radiated into South America after the formation of the Isthmus of Panama (as part of the Great American Interchange), thus making trogons relatively recent arrivals in South America. Within the genus Trogon, a division of species that coincides with female plumage type is well supported. Females with brown breasts and heads characterize one clade (including T. rufus), whereas females in the other clade (including T. comptus) have gray breasts and heads. Females of T. rufus and T. mexicanus both have brown heads. Male plumage does not appear to be informative at this level; species with red or yellow underparts are interspersed in both clades. They have large eyes, stout hooked bills, short wings, and long, squared-off, strongly graduated tails; black and white tail-feather markings form distinctive patterns on the underside. Males have richly colored metallic plumage, metallic on the upperparts.[1] Although many have brightly coloured bare eye-rings, they lack the colorful patches of bare facial skin in their African counterparts, Apaloderma.[2] Females and young are duller and sometimes hard to identify in the field

Physical charateristics

In shape and size, it is typical of other members of the genus Trogon, with a blunt head and heavy, curved bill, stocky, tubular body, and long, squared tail. Males have a black head and upper chest separated from a yellow belly by a white band. The upperparts are iridescent blackish and the wings are black as well; the feather tiers in the graduated tail ladder are broadly tipped white. Females are patterned similarly to males, but with more subdued colors overall.

Listen to the sound of Black-headed Trogon

[audio: Trogon.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 27 cm size max.: 28 cm
incubation min.: 18 days incubation max.: 19 days
fledging min.: 16 days fledging max.: 17 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 3  


Middle America : Southeast Mexico to North Costa Rica. A species of open forest from southern Mexico south and east through Central America to northwestern Costa Rica.


Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, and heavily degraded former forest.


Nest is built in an emtpy chamber of a termite nest usually 2-8 meters above ground. 2-3 eggs are incubated for about 19 days. The downy chicks leave the nest after about 16-17 days.

Feeding habits

Favors fruit and insects, Including caterpillar, beetles, bugs and dragonflies. Eats seeds, berries, soft fruit parts. Will perch-sally for insects or snatching fruit.

Video Black-headed Trogon


copyright: Max Roth


This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Black-headed Trogon status Least Concern


Sedentary but with some altitudinal movements. Might also do extensive wandering outside the breeding season

Distribution map

Black-headed Trogon distribution range map

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