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White-tailed Trogon


The White-tailed Trogon is a near passerine bird in the trogon family. It occurs from Panama south to southern Brazil, and on Trinidad. It is sometimes split into two species: the Amazonian White-tailed Trogon, retaining the scientific name Trogon viridis and found throughout most of its range, and the Western White-tailed TrogonTrogon chionurus if considered a distinct species –, found in western Ecuador, western Colombia and Panama.


This relatively large species is about 11 in and weighs about 3 oz (82 g). Like most trogons it has distinctive male and female plumages, with soft colourful feathers. The head and upper breast of the male are dark blue (appears blackish in poor light), and the back is green, becoming bluer on the rump. The lower underparts are orange yellow. The wings are black, vermiculated with white. In the Amazonian White-tailed Trogon the undertail has a black centre, broadly edged with white, but in the Western White-tailed Trogon the undertail is almost entirely white. The complete eye-ring is pale bluish.

The female White-tailed Trogon resembles the male, but has a grey back, head and breast, and barring to the tail. This barring is restricted to the inner webs of the tail feathers (and can often be difficult to see) in the Western White-tailed Trogon, while it is far more conspicuous in the Amazonian White-tailed Trogon, where it primarily is on the outer webs.

This species resembles the Violaceous Trogon (T. violaceus), but the latter is smaller and has a complete yellow (male) or incomplete white (female) eye-ring. The male Violaceous Trogon also has a barred undertail unlike the male White-tailed Trogon.

The song of the White-tailed Trogon consists of about 15-20 cow notes that are delivered slower in the Amazonian White-tailed Trogon than in the Western White-tailed Trogon. Among others, calls include caaop, caaop, caaop, ca, ca, ca notes.


They typically perch upright and motionless. Although their flight is fast, they are reluctant to fly any distance. Their broad bills and weak legs reflect their diet and arboreal habits. White-tailed Trogons feed mainly on small fruit, supplemented by arthropods – slightly more so in the dry season when fruit are scarce, but even then at least the Amazonian population seems to be among the most frugivorous trogons in their range. They are consequently more rarely seen to attend mixed-species feeding flocks than other trogons.

It is a resident of moist tropical forests, where it nests in a termite nest or a hole in a rotten tree. The nest is usually if not always built by the female which excavates an upward-sloping tunnel ending in a breeding chamber. The nesting season is apparently mainly during the summer months (June-August). The clutch is typically two or three white eggs. These are incubated for 1617 days, with a further two weeks to fledging.


(2006): Notes on breeding, behaviour and distribution of some birds in Ecuador. Bull. B.O.C. 126(2): 153-164. PDF fulltext

(1991): A guide to the birds of Trinidad and Tobago (2nd edition). Comstock Publishing, Ithaca, N.Y.. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2

(2003): Birds of Venezuela. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 0-7136-6418-5

(1999): A composicao dos bandos mistos de aves na Mata Atlantica da Serra de Paranapiacaba, no sudeste brasileiro [Mixed flocks of birds in Atlantic Rain Forest in Serra de Paranapiacaba, southeastern Brazil]. Revista Brasileira de Biologia 59(1): 75-85 [Portuguese with English abstract]. PDF fulltext

(2007): The relative contribution of fruits and arthropods to the diet of three trogon species in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Revista Brasileira de Zoologia 24(2): 515-517 [English with Portuguese abstract]. PDF fulltext

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article White-tailed Trogon

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