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Black-throated Trogon Trogon rufus

  • Order: Trogoniformes
  • Family: Trogonidae
  • Polytypic: 6 subspecies
  • Authors: Cassie Stelow


The breeding season for Black-throated Trogons varies geographically. In Costa Rica breeding is February-June (Skutch 1959, Stiles and Skutch 1989), and is similar in Panama, April-July (Willis and Eisenmann 1979). In northwestern Colombia birds in breeding condition were collected February-May (Hilty and Brown 1986). A nest in Peru, however, was in August (Schulenberg et al. 2005), and one in French Guiana was in October (Tostain et al. 1992).


Both sexes contribute to making the nest. Nests are primarily carved into decaying wood anywhere from 0.75-6 m above the ground (Stiles and Skutch 1989). One pair studied by Skutch (1959) started its nest in early February and did not finish it until the end of March. Most data on reproduction from Skutch (1959). All of the nests that he observed were in long-decayed dicotyledonous trees. The nests are very shallow and much of the front is open, leaving most of the nesting trogon exposed. The doorway heights range from 11.5-14.5 cm. There is no lining to the nest, other than some loose decayed wood chips (Skutch 1959).


Skutch (1959) observed eight nests and noted two additional nests found by other observers. Of the ten nests one had one egg that was eventually pillaged by a predator and the remaining nine nests each had two eggs present. The eggs are oval shaped and glossy white. The length of the eggs ranged from 22.0 mm to 27.6 mm (Skutch 1959).


Males and females spent equal amounts of times on the nest; the eggs were uncovered for only 45 minutes a day. Incubation lasted about 18 days. (Skutch 1959).

Parental care

Parents spent an equal amount of time caring for the young. At times the male would begin bringing food to the young even before they had hatched. If a nest had been destroyed by a predator parents would continue to bring food for a short amount of time as though their nestling was still alive. In one case the male followed a nestling that had left the nest and continued to feed it on the ground (Skutch 1959). Nestling period lasts about 14-15 days (Skutch 1959).

Recommended Citation

Stelow, C. (2011). Black-throated Trogon (Trogon rufus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.