Ian’s Bird of the Week – Violaceous Trogon

Violaceous Trogon (Trogon violaceus) by Ian

Violaceous Trogon (Trogon violaceus) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Violaceous Trogon ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 11/17/10

When the Resplendent Quetzal featured as bird of the week in October, I mentioned that Quetzals are members of the Trogon family, the Trogonidae. So they belong to a splendid lineage as typical Trogons are quite gorgeous in their own right and among my favourite birds. Here is the Violaceous Trogon, also from the Costa Rican trip, though it has a wide range in Central and South America (I have also photographed it in Trinidad).

Violaceous Trogon (Trogon violaceus) by Ian

Violaceous Trogon (Trogon violaceus) by Ian

Trogons, the males in particular, are very colourful and the different species come in an extraordinary variety of colours, invariably in aesthetically pleasing and frequently complementary combinations, i.e. red-green, blue-yellow, purple-orange. Male Trogons with red and green breasts include the Slaty-tailed, Black-tailed, Collared and Masked, while both the Violaceous and the White-tailed are somewhere between blue-yellow and purple-orange, perhaps violet-chrome yellow, first photo. Non-complementary but still lovely are the red-brown male Crimson-rumped  and female Masked. (I’ve chosen these examples as all seven are on the Birdway website.)
Their backs are green, bluish or brown, as in the second photo, and if all this is not enough, the upper wing coverts often have subtle and intricate scroll patterns and beautifully barred black and white tails, as in the third photo. If you wanted to design a fantastically beautiful bird yourself, it would be hard to come up with something better: female Trogons clearly have impeccable taste.
Violaceous Trogon (Trogon violaceus) by Ian

Violaceous Trogon (Trogon violaceus) by Ian

Despite their rich colours, Trogons can be hard to spot as they tend to sit fairly motionless in leafy trees in tropical rainforest, occurring in both the New and the Old Worlds. They have distinctive repeated calls that reveal their presence, but hearing one in thick forest is no guarantee of being able to see it. They sit tight, so if you do find them they are fairly approachable but you have to be lucky to find one in clear view.

Related link:
Recent additions to the website include:
and additional photos of
(and a couple of other Costa Rican species that I’m keeping up my sleeve as future birds of the week!).
Best wishes,

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au

Lee’s Addition:
Thanks again for another informative article and photos, Ian. Dan and I were able to see a White-tailed Trogon at the National Aviary. They are very colorful like Ian said. They belong to the Trogonidae Family of the Trogoniformes Order.     There are 42 species in the family.

Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors.
(Genesis 37:3 ESV)

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