Elegant Trogon (Trogon elegans)

Elegant Trogon

[order] TROGONIFORMES | [family] Trogonidae | [latin] Trogon elegans | [authority] Gould, 1834 | [UK] Elegant Trogon | [FR] Trogon elegant | [DE] Kupfertrogon | [ES] Trogon Elegante, Coa Elegante (HN) | [NL] Koperstaarttrogon


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

Note the erect posture, slightly parrotlike profile, geranium red belly. Male: Head, chest, and upperparts deep glossy green, separated from the red belly by a narrow white band
across the breast. Tail square-tipped, moderately long; bill yellow.b Female: Brown, not green; less red on underparts. Note the white mark on the cheek.

Listen to the sound of Elegant Trogon

[audio:http://www.planetofbirds.com/MASTER/TROGONIFORMES/Trogonidae/sounds/Elegant 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.: 18 days incubation max.: 19 days
fledging min.: 15 days fledging max.: 16 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 3  


North America, Middle America : Southwest USA to Costa Rica


Mountain forests, pine-oak or sycamore canyons. In Arizona, breeds in canyons through the pine-
oak zone of mountains, almost always where sycamores grow along flowing streams. In Mexico and Central America, lives in canyons and scrubby lowland woods in relatively dry areas, avoiding tall rain forest.


Male defends nesting territory with repeated calling in spring. In courtship, male leads female to potential nest sites, calling from inside cavity; female enters to indicate acceptance.
Nest: Site is in cavity in tree. In Arizona, usually in old flicker hole in dead tree or limb, especially in sycamores; 8-50′ above the ground, typically about 25-
26′ up. Sometimes competes actively for nest sites with other birds, such as Sulphur-bellied Flycatchers. Little or no nest material added, eggs laid on bottom of cavity or on accumulated debris.
Clutch 2, sometimes 3, occasionally 4. Incubation is by both parents, 22-23 days; female incubates at night and at midday, male in early morning and late afternoon.
Young: Cared for and fed by both parents. Young leave the nest about 20-23 days after hatching but are dependent on their parents for a few more weeks.

Feeding habits

Mostly insects and fruits.
Feeds on a wide variety of insects, especially big ones such as katydids, cicadas, walkingsticks, and large caterpillars. Will also eat small lizards. Also eats many small fruits and berries, such as chokecherry and wild grape, especially in late summer
and fall.
Behavior: When foraging, perches upright, peering about rather slowly; then flutters up and takes insect or fruit in its bill while hovering momentarily before dropping to another perch.

Video Elegant Trogon


copyright: Don DesJardin


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 increasing, 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.
Elegant Trogon status Least Concern


Breeds from mountains of southeastern Arizona south to Costa Rica. Winters south of the United States. Casual southwestern New Mexico, Texas (Big Bend). Migration:
In Arizona, most arrive in April and May, depart during September and October. One or two sometimes remain through winter along streams at low elevations. Throughout most of range, a permanent resident. Sometimes strays into Texas from northeastern Mexico

Distribution map

Elegant Trogon distribution range map

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