Black-tailed Trogon (Trogon melanurus)

Black-tailed Trogon

[order] TROGONIFORMES | [family] Trogonidae | [latin] Trogon melanurus | [authority] Swainson, 1838 | [UK] Black-tailed Trogon | [FR] Trogon a queue noire | [DE] Schwarzschwanz-Trogon | [ES] Trogon Colinegro | [NL] Zwartstaarttrogon


Monotypic species


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

The male has a yellow bill, an orange-red eye-ring and a thin white band across the chest separating the dark green breast from the red belly. The undertail is slaty grey with no markings. The female is grey above and below with the exception of the red lower belly. The grey on the upper mandible a feature of the nominate subspecies but not some of the other subspecies. The female has virtually no eye-ring.

Listen to the sound of Black-tailed Trogon

[audio: Trogon.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 28 cm size max.: 30 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 3  


Latin America : Panama to Venezuela, Amazonia


It is found in the canopy and sub-canopy of forest and forest edges, humid lowland and foothill forest.


Builds a nest in tree termite hills or holes in trees. Clutch size is 2-3 eggs, no further data.

Feeding habits

Diet consists of berries, fruits and also insects eaten in the higher strata of trees.

Video Black-tailed Trogon


copyright: A. Motis


This species has an extremely 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 has not been quantified, but it is not believed to 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.
It is found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela. In Suirname the largest Trogon occurring widespread throughou the interior
Black-tailed Trogon status Least Concern


Sedentary, in Bolivia birds move from dry forest in the wet season to wet forest in the dry season.

Distribution map

Black-tailed Trogon distribution range map

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *