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Bird of the Week: Gartered Trogon

Meet the Gartered Trogon (Trogon caligatus).

The Gartered Trogon

This species, formerly called the Violaceous Trogon, was renamed after a recent taxonomic split and is one of the most common trogon species of edge habitat throughout much of Panama. There are 11 different species of trogon that we encounter on the various tours taken to Panama. In central Panama, the White-tailed, Gartered, Black-throated, Black-tailed and Slaty-tailed Trogon are all commonly encountered. It may seem overwhelming to separate all of these species, however slight variations in plumage and voice aid in this process and after a few days in-country, most can readily distinguish at least a few different species.

Although superficially similar to the Gartered Trogon, this Black-throated Trogon posseses a greenish head, black throat and blue orbital ring. Small identifiers such as these help to differentiate species. (Note the engorged tick on the underside of the bird's bill...parasitism is a constant issue faced by birds in the tropics)

Trogons produce mournful vocalizations that are quite distinctive and often fill the forest early in the morning and in the evening, although some species (such as the Slaty-tailed Trogon) will vocalize throughout the day. Endemic to the tropics, trogons forage on insects and fruit and sit motionless for long periods before sallying forth to catch insects in flight. Finding a trogon can be quite difficult despite their vivid colors as you often need to pick them out of the rainforest background as they sit on a perch.

Trogons nest in cavities that they excavate in either dead, hollow wood or in termite mounds. Their faces are often covered in rotten wood or termite nest material during the nesting season as they excavate their cavities.

This Black-throated Trogon's head is covered in nest material as it excavates a cavity in a nearby termite mound.

This Gartered Trogon is building its nest in a termite mound 75-feet up a tree.

Come to Panama to see this and many other amazing species!

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