Ecuadorian Trogon Trogon mesurus

  • Order: Trogoniformes
  • Family: Trogonidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Thomas S. Schulenberg and Harold F. Greeney


The nest and eggs of Ecuadorian Trogon have not been described previously (Johnsgard 2000, Collar 2001), though its nesting biology was assumed to be similar to that of closely related species, such as Black-tailed Trogon (Trogon melanurus) or Slaty-tailed Trogon (Trogon massena), both of which excavate nest holes in active termitaria or in weak, rotting wood (Peck 1910, Snethlage 1935, Skutch 1948, Eisenmann 1952, Brightsmith 2000, Collar 2001). The eggs were completely unknown.

Based on the study of three nests of Ecuadorian Trogon at the Jorupe Biological Reserve (Jocotoco Foundation) in Loja Province of southwestern Ecuador (04° 23' S, 79° 57' W; 550-650 m), we present the first published nesting data for this species (H.F. Greeney, personal observations).

Nesting sites and cavity dimensions: All three active nests were unlined chambers excavated within active, arboreal termitaria and accessed through fairly short entrance tunnels. We recorded the following dimensions.

Clutch size at two nests was three eggs. Eggs were subelliptical, and glossy white, as described for other species of trogons. Over time they became fairly heavily stained with brownish markings, presumably from the surrounding termite nest material. The three eggs of one clutch measured (mm): 31.8 x 25.0, 31.8 x 25.1, 31.5 x 25.0. The eggs of a second clutch measured: 31.3 x 25.4, 32.1 x 25.6, 30.9 x 25.0. The eggs of the latter clutch, while still showing no signs of development when held up to a light (i.e. fresh weight), weighed 11.1 g, 11.5 g, and 10.5 g, respectively.

One nest held three partially incubated eggs on 11 February 2010. The second nest contained three fresh eggs on 16 February. Based on adult behavior at the third nest, which we were unable to access directly, we believe incubation was already underway on 12 February.

Both sexes participated in incubation, and would not flush from the nest unless the supporting tree was tapped or loud noises (clapping) were made below the nest. Instead, in response to our approach, both sexes would slowly lean out of the nest entrance to peer at the observer. Once flushed, however, they rarely remained in the area, flying quickly out of sight to call from a hidden perch until we left the area.

Recommended Citation

Schulenberg, T. S. and H. F. Greeney (2012). Ecuadorian Trogon (Trogon mesurus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.