Elegant Trogon is indeed an elegant and exotic-looking resident of the
tropics, with a range that just extends into the U.S. in southern Arizona.
There it is most often found in wooded canyons with names now famous to
birders (Ramsey Canyon, Madera Canyon, more), where it nests in the summer
in the tall sycamores and other trees that line the canyon streams.
Males are brilliantly colored, with bright red underparts and deep emerald
green upperparts. Females are less colorful, with the only strong
color found on the red undertail coverts.
Habitat: In the U.S. part of its range, Elegant
Trogons are found in pine-oak forests in the canyons of Arizona, nearly
always in areas where tall sycamores line canyon streams. In the rest
of its range in Mexico and Central America, it can be found in relatively
dry forests and canyons.
Diet: Omnivorous, feeding on a variety of fruits,
berries, and insects. Insects often make up the majority of the diet
when available, especially if large insects such as cicadas or katydids are
available. They will also occasionally eat small vertebrates such as
Behavior: Typically very sluggish in behavior.
When perched, the bird moves little, often loitering in one location for
signifcant amounts of time. Nesting birds are often strongly
territorial, defending a territory that may extend up to a mile from the
Nesting: Males court females by following them,
calling, and puffing out their chest. Nesting usually occurs in an old
woodpecker or owl nest. Upon the eggs hatching, both the female and male
will contribute to feeding the young. Elegant Trogons are evidently
monogomous, and even sometimes show up on Arizona nesting grounds already
Song: Song of the Elegant Trogon is a series of
harsh croaking sounds, repeated 4 to 10 times.
Migration: Most birds within their range are
non-migratory. The exception are birds in Arizona and in the rest of
the northern Sonoran area. Elegant Trogons which summer in these areas
do move southward in the fall, although occasionally one can be found
overwintering in Arizona.
In the U.S. part of its range, Elegant Trogons are similar in structure to
the Eared Quetzel, but plumage difference are obvious. In the rest of
its range, it may be confused with other Trogon species. The
female has a white mark behind her eye which is generally diagnostic.
The male may be confused with the Collared Trogon or the Mexican Trogon.
Conservation Status: Elegant Trogons have no
current serious conservation concerns. Populations in the Arizona
portion of its range may actually be increasing in recent decades.
Image Information: Colored pencil drawing of
Elegant Trogon - By Terry Sohl - 2012.