Eared Quetzal was recently named the Eared Trogon, but research has shown
they are much more closely related to Quetzals than Trogon species.
They are primarily found montane forests of western Mexico, but beginning in
1977, tiny numbers of the species have been found in canyon forests of
southern Arizona. Confirmed breeding has also occurred in select
locations of southern Arizona. While the species is similar in overall
structure as the Elegant Trogon,
another tropical specialty with a range that barely overlaps into the United
States, the Eared Quetzal is quite a bit larger, has a much smaller-looking
head, and has obvious plumage differences.
Habitat: In the main part of their range in
Mexico, the Eared Quetzal is found in mid- to high-elevation forests,
typically pine-oak forest or in conifer forests. Those that have been
found in the United States have been in several forested, mountain canyons.
Diet: Insects make up a large part of the diet,
especially large insects and caterpillars. They will also take small
vertebrates when available. They also feed heavily on fruits and
berries, especially in the winter when insects may be less abundant.
Behavior: Eared Quetzals appear to be rather
sensitive to disturbance around nest sites, with evidence that human
activity near nesting sites can contribute to nest failure. Otherwise,
behavior is similar to other Quetzals and Trogons, with birds often acting
Nesting: In the U.S. part of their range, nests
have typically occurred in old woodpecker cavities, usually in tall trees
near flowing water in forested canyons. Eggs are incubated by both parents,
and both parents help to raise the young.
Song: Song of the Eared Quetzal is a series of
whistles which consistently rise in pitch and strength.
Migration: Eared Quetzals are considered to be
permanent residents throughout their range. However, there are some
indications that birds do move to lower elevations in Mexico during the
In the U.S. part of its range, Elegant
Trogons are similar in structure, but size and plumage are quite
Conservation Status: Eared Quetzals are currently
considered "near threatened", due to an overall small population and the
threat of potential habitat loss. However, current populations are
Image Information: Hand-colored lithograph - John
Gould, 1861. Public Domain image, copyright expired in United States.
Additional Photos: Additional Photos Coming Soon!!