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Trogon collaris

Collared Trogon

  • Order: Trogoniformes
  • Family: Trogonidae
  • Polytypic 9 Subspecies

Authors: Inman, Seth



Trogons are brightly colored birds with long, broad, strongly graduated tails, small feet, and short, thick bills. Collared Trogon is a small Trogon. The upperparts and the breast of the male are metallic green, with a black face and white vermiculations on the wing coverts; these vermiculations are relatively coarse in populations of Central America, but are very fine in southern populations. The rectrices are green with black tips on the upper surface; the undersides of the rectrices are barred black and white, with broad white tips. There is a narrow white band across the lower breast, and the belly is bright red. The bill is bright yellow.

The upperparts of the female Collared Trogon are brown, brightest on the lower rump and uppertail coverts. Also, the bill of the female is paler yellow, with a broad black stripe along the culmen.

Similar Species

Collared Trogon potentially could be confused, across its broad geographic range, with almost any other species of red-bellied trogon. Male Collared Trogon is smaller than male Elegant Trogon (Trogon elegans), with a narrower black tip the upperside of the tail and densely barred undersurfaces to the rectrices, and with coarser vermiculations on the wing coverts. Male Mountain Trogon (Trogon mexicanus) has finer vercmiculations on the wing coverts, and the undersurfaces of the rectrices are black with broad white tips (but with no black and white barring). Female Mountain Trogon is longer tailed, and has a brownish breast band, with the red on the underparts more restricted to the belly. Male Blue-crowned Trogon (Trogon curucui) of Amazonia has a bluish head and breast, and a red orbital ring; female Blue-crowned Trogons are gray above. Slaty-tailed (Trogon massena)Black-tailed (Trogon melanurus), Blue-tailed (Trogon comptus), and Ecuadorian (Trogon mesurus) trogons are much larger, and have no white on the undersurface of the tail. Lattice-tailed Trogon (Trogon clathratus) is larger than Collared, with blacker undersurface to the tail and pale irides. Male Baird's Trogon (Trogon bairdii) has blue upperparts, a blue bill, and white undersides to the tail; female Baird's has gray upperparts. 

The species that are most similar to Collared Trogon are Orange-bellied Trogon (Trogon aurantiiventris) of Costa Rica and Panama, and Masked Trogon (Trogon personatus) of the Andes and the tepuis. Orange-bellied Trogon differs, as the name implies, in its orange (not red) belly. Masked Trogon typically occurs at higher elevations than Collared Trogon, and the underside of tail of Masked is even more narrowly barred than in Collared. Also, male Masked Trogon has a narrow red orbital ring, and female Masked has a black face.


The song of Collared Trogon varies geographically. The song of the northern populations (puella and extimus, from Mexico south to Panama) is a short series of notes, described "a plaintive 2-3 noted kyow'-kyow or caow' caow, and a faster kyow kyow-kyow" (Howell and Webb 1995) or as "2-4 clear, mellow, descending, cow cao or cow cao-cao, the first note slightly lower in pitch" (Stiles and Skutch 1989). Occasionally the song is given as an introductory cow followed by an accellerating series, ending in a chuckling trill (Stiles and Skutch 1989).

In other populations the song is "a series of mellow whistled notes, usually with a stuttered introductory note: whi'whi whew-whew-whew" (Lane, in Schulenberg et al. 2010).

Calls of Collared Trogon include a prolonged charr or snorting chur-r-r-r similar to an antbird while raising and lowering tail; first slightly spreading the tail fanwise and at once closing it very rapidly. The spreading is just enough for an observer behind the bird to note the white of the outer tail feathers, which flashes out momentarily, probably as a warning signal to the mate. As soon as the tail is closed it is also slowly elevated (Skutch 1956).

Additional audio recordings of vocalizations of Collared Trogon can be heard at Macaulay Library, at xeno-canto, and at Internet Bird Collection.

Nonvocal Sounds

None reported.

Detailed Description (appearance)

The following description is based on Collar (2001), and refers to nominate collaris; see also Geographic Variation:

Adult male: Face and throat blackish. Crown, nape, back, and rump bright metallic green. Upper surface of rectrices blue green, tipped with black; under surface of rectrices black with narrow white barring, and with broad white tips. Wing coverts finely vermiculated black and white. Remiges black, the outer webs of the primaries narrowly edged with white. Breast bright metalllic green, bordered below with a narrow white band. Belly and undertail coverts bright red. 

Adult female: Similar in pattern to the male, but olive brown where male is green; broken eyering white; upper surface of tail dark rufous, tipped with black; wingcoverts olive brown, finely vermiculated with black; sides of breast more or less brownish; belly duller red; lateral rectrices gray, finely freckled with white; and with black subterminal bars, white tips.

Immature: Wing coverts of immature male brownish; immature female has dusky mottling on the undersurface of the tail.

Juvenile: Mostly rich brown, mixed with buff on the breast, shading into deep buff on the belly; vent rufuosu. Wing coverts spotted with buff. 

Bare Parts

Iris: dark brown

Bill: dull yellow (male) or maxilla mostly black (tomia yellow basally), mandible dull yellow (female)

Tarsi and toes: brownish horn, pale gray

Bare parts color data from Dickey and van Rossem (1938), Haverschmidt (1968), Wetmore (1968), and Collar (2001).


Total length: 25 cm (Stiles and Skutch 1989), 26.5-29 cm (Howell and Webb 1995), 27 cm (Hilty 2003) 

Linear measurements (from Wetmore 1968; subspecies puella):

male (n = 10)

wing length: mean 123.9 mm (range 121.0-127.0 mm)

tail length: mean 133.4 mm (range 132.6-136.6 mm)

bill length (culmen from base): mean 17.7 mm (range 16.7-18.3 mm)

tarsus length: mean 15.2 mm (range 14.0-16.3 mm)

female (n = 10)

wing length: mean 122.7 mm (range 120.0-126.8 mm)

tail length: mean 134.8 mm (range 131.3-139.6 mm)

bill length (culmen from base): mean 17.5 mm (range 16.8-18.4 mm)

tarsus length: mean 14.8 mm (range 14.2-15.6 mm)

Mass: male, mean 63.36 ± 0.66 g (n = 29, Panama, puella?; Hartman 1961); female, mean 65.42 ±0.96 g (n = 18, Panama; Hartman 1961). Two males, 47.6 g, 53.5 g (Mexico, puella; Paynter 1955); two females, 41.1 g, 53.9 g (Mexico, puella; Paynter 1955). Male, 52 g (n = 1?, Suriname, collaris; Haverschmidt 1968)


No information available for adults. 

Geographic Variation

The Collared Trogon has nine recognized subspecies; their distributions are listed below:

puella Gould, 1845 - E Mexico S along both slopes of Central America to C Panama (Veraguas).

extimus Griscom, 1929 - NE Panama (E Darién); validity of this subspecies is questionable (Collar 2001)

heothinus Wetmore, 1967 - E Panama (end of Serranía del Darién).

virginalis Cabanis & Heine, 1863 - W Colombia to W Ecuador and NW Peru.

subtropicalis Zimmer, 1948 - subtropical zone of W and Central Colombia in Magdalena and Cauca Valleys.

exoptatus Cabanis & Heine, 1863 - N Venezuela.

collaris Vieillot, 1817 - E of Andes (except N Venezuela) S to N Bolivia and WC Brazil; Trinidad and Tobago; the Guianas.

castaneus Spix, 1824 - Tropical E Colombia to NW Brazil, E Peru and N Bolivia; patchily in E Brazil.

eytoni- E Brazil (Rio de Janeiro); inseparable from castaneus (Collar 2001)


Phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data, from both nuclear and mitochondrial genes, places Trogon collaris in a clade with Trogon aurantiiventris (Orange-bellied Trogon), Trogon personatus (Masked Trogon), Trogon mexicanus (Mountain Trogon), Trogon elegans (Elegant Trogon), and Trogon rufus (Black-throated Trogon) (Moyle 2005, DaCosta and Klicka 2008). Trogon aurantiiventris is embedded within Central American populations of collaris (DaCosta and Klicka 2008), consistent with suggestions that aurantiiventris is only a color morph and not a separate species (Stiles and Skutch 1989, Collar 2001). Also, Central and South American populations of collaris form largely separate clades (DaCosta and Klicka 2008), consistent with the vocal differences between collaris from these two regions. The sister to collaris/aurantiiventris is Trogon personatus.

Recommended Citation

Inman, Seth. 2012. Collared Trogon (Trogon collaris), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: