Saturday, June 1, 2013

Bird of the Month: Orange-bellied Trogon

The Orange-bellied Trogon (Trogon aurantiiventris) has one of the most restricted ranges among the trogons, found in foothills and highlands forest from Costa Rica to central Panamá.
Like others members of this family, these birds spend most of their time perched quietly, and are frequently overlooked due to this habit, except if they are vocalizing.  These birds have characteristic calls that are one of their most important field mark actually.
Important field marks are also the color of the orbital ring and the undertail pattern.  They exhibit sexual dimorphism, as you can see here.  Usually the females are duller overall, sometimes exhibiting different undertail patterns as in this case.
We can't talk about the Orange-bellied Trogon without talking about a close relative: the Collared Trogon.  Both species are sympatric (except in central Panama where the Collareds are absent) and share similar niches. Beside the color of the underparts (red in the Collared Trogon) and minor differences in tail pattern, these two species are very similar, including their voices.  Some authorities consider the Orange-bellied as a localized color form of the Collared, but until now they are both considered full species.
For these, and many other reasons is why we chose the Orange-bellied Trogon as our bird of the month!
Literature consulted:
1.  Angehr G, Dean R.  The Birds of Panama.  A Field Guide.  2010.
2.  Ridgely R, Gwynne J.  A Guide to the Birds of Panama. 1993.
3.  Remsen JV, et al.  A classification of the birds of South America. AOU. Version 20-may-2013.


  1. Just saw this species in El Valle. Great info from you again.

  2. Gracias Marv
    Leslie & Marco, I got these photos in La Mesa, above El Valle, a couple of weeks ago!