Elegant Trogon Trogon elegans

  • Order: Trogoniformes
  • Family: Trogonidae
  • Polytypic: 5 subspecies
  • Authors: Nathan R. Williams



Primarily catches insects in mid-air "flycatcher-style" (Bent 1940) or by sally-gleaning (Kunzmann et al 1998) in the midstory and canopy.


In Arizona, Elegant Trogons defend territory with a radius of 0.8-1.6 km around the nest. Both sexes defend the territory against other trogons, and against other medium to large birds during the breeding season (Tanner and Hardy 1958, Cully 1986, Taylor 1994, Hall and Karubian 1996).  They call and/or physically attack and chase intruders.

Sexual Behavior

Elegant Trogons are monogamous and sometimes arrive already paired to the breeding ground after migration (Taylor 1979-1983).

Courtship displays by the male include flicking or pumping the tail, inflating the crimson chest while facing a prospective mate, and following the mate from perch to perch while calling (Hall and Karubian 1996).

No extra-pair copulations have been recorded.

Social and interspecific behavior

In the nonbreeding season, often associate with mixed-species flocks with Russet-crowned Motmot (Momotus mexicanus), Golden-fronted Woodpecker (Melanerpes aurifrons), Whie-throated Magpie-Jay (Calocitta formosa), Clay-colored Thrush (Turdus grayi), and Streak-backed Oriole (Icterus pustulatus) (Tashian 1953).

In the early part of the breeding season, they have also been observed to occur in single-species flocks or groups of 3-4, though males and females often interact as if paired (Sutton and Pettingill 1942).  Flocks largely consist of males.

After the beginning of May and through the rest of the breeding season, however, they occur in pairs or family groups.


Predation not well documented. The few records that exist are by a Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperi; Taylor 1994) and a Mottled Owl (Ciccaba virgata; Martin et al. 1954).  Elegant Trogons are known to mob owls (Cully 1986) that might represent a threat.

Recommended Citation

Williams, N. R. (2011). Elegant Trogon (Trogon elegans), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.