Gartered Trogon Trogon caligatus



Distinguishing Characteristics

A small trogon: males are blue-black and yellow with black and white barring under the tail, and females are similar but duller overall, upperparts slaty rather than bluish. Gartered Trogon is similar in appearance to the species from which it was recently split, Guianan Trogon and Amazonian Trogon, but these species are allopatric. The yellow eye-ring of the male Gartered Trogon is a key characteristic for separating it from similar sympatric species (Wetmore 1968).

Similar Species

This species can be distinguished from all similar sympatric trogons by its vocalizations.

 Male Gartered Trogon is similar to the male Black-throated Trogon but the latter has greenish iridescence in the neck and chest and a pale blue eye-ring, in contrast to the Gartered’s violet-blue iridescence and yellow eye-ring (Ridgley 1974).   Black-headed Trogons of both sexes have solid black tail feathers with broad white tips and pale blue eye-rings, which distinguish them from Gartered Trogon (Riehl 2012).

The female Gartered Trogon may be confused with the female White-tailed Trogon, but the latter’s blue eye-ring and undertail pattern set it apart.  Female Baird’s Trogons are superficially similar, with slaty upperparts, but the belly of this species is orange-red rather than yellow (Ridgley 1974).  Female Black-throated Trogons have brown, not slaty, upperparts (Stelow and Johnson 2011).

The Black-throated Trogon is also thought to differ from Gartered Trogon in preferred habitat: Black-throated Trogon inhabits denser forest while Gartered “ranges in trees along streams, forest edge, borders of clearings,” and other more open habitat (Wetmore 1968).


Detailed Description

Detailed description from Ridgeway (1911):

Adult male: Head and neck black, sometimes passing into metallic blue or violet-blue on lower hindneck; back, scapulars, upper rump, and anterior lesser wing-coverts bright metallic green or golden green passing into pure metallic green, bluish green, or nearly greenish blue on lower rump, upper tail coverts, and middle pair of rectrices, the latter abruptly tipped with black, the next two pairs of rectrices with outer web similar but inner web wholly uniform black; three lateral pairs of rectrices broadly tipped with white, the remaining portion black for, the most part barred with white, the outermost rectrix with the outer web barred for whole length (but basally the white bars not reaching to shaft), the inner web also barred for greater part, but the white bars becoming gradually narrower and shorter (from edge of web) proximally, the third rectrix (from outside) with outer web barred for more than half its length but the inner web with not more than one or two complete bars (often with none at all) — the white bars continuous (involving the shaft) on the subterminal portion of two outer rectrices and there nearly (sometimes quite) equal in width to the black interspaces; wing coverts and secondaries minutely vermiculated with black and white; primaries dull black, the longer ones edged with white for basal half or more; chest metallic bluish green, blue, or violet blue, rarely black, glossed, more or less with metallic bluish green or blue; rest of under parts rich pure orange yellow or yellowish orange (cadmium yellow to orange), paler, sometimes slightly intermixed with whitish along anterior margin (next to metallic blue of chest), the outer portion of sides and flanks gray, tinged or washed with orange yellow, the thighs and tarsal feathers black;…

Adult female: Upper parts (except wings) plain slate color, darker (blackish slate) on pileum, the middle rectrices abruptly and rather broadly tipped with black; a broad white orbital ring, interrupted on upper and lower eyelids; wings black, or slate-black, the wing coverts and secondaries narrowly barred with white transverse lines (these several times narrower than the broad black interspaces), the longer primaries edged with white; three lateral rectrices with inner web black tipped with white, the latter extending, wedge-like, for a greater or less distance next to shaft, the outer web broadly barred with white (for nearly entire length of outermost, for about one-third the length of third rectrix); sides of head and neck, chin, throat, and chest plain slate color or blackish slate; outer portion of sides and flanks lighter slate color or slate gray, tinged with orange yellow; tibial and tarsal feathers black; rest of under parts orange yellow, paler (usually somewhat intermixed with white) along anterior margin;…
Immature male: Similar to the adult male but lateral rectrices less regularly barred (the pattern essentially intermediate between that of the adult male and that of adult female), wing-coverts more coarsely vermiculated, and chest with greater or less intermixture of dull slate color.

Young male (nestling): Similar to the adult female, but the general slate color darker and more sooty, pileum black, and with wing-coverts and secondaries more irregularly barred with white.”


No information.

Bare Parts

“Tarsus feathered to base of toes” (Wetmore 1968).

The eye-ring of the male is yellow, which is a key mark distinguishing them from similar sympatric trogons. The eye-ring color is easy for human observers to see in the field (Wetmore 1968), which may mean that it is easy for other trogons to see as well.

Hilty et al (2003) describe the eye-ring of the female (of birds in Venezuela) as “whitish”.

Other bare parts have been described as follows:

“Tibia black; adult male…had the iris dark brown; thickened rim of the bare eyelids honey yellow; bill pale greenish gray; toes dark neutral gray; claws dusky neutral gray. Another male…iris warm brown; rim of eyelids bright yellow; bill pale neutral gray; toes dull neutral gray; claws black” (Wetmore 1968).

Adult male: “bill pale yellowish or grayish in dried skins, pale olive-gray or dull glaucous or ashy blue in life; naked orbital ring orange yellow, like color of abdomen; iris dark brown; feet gray or plumbeous;…”
 Adult female: “bill light grayish or buffy in dried skins, the maxilla sometimes partly blackish; iris dark brown; feet dusky horn color or brownish in dried skins, grayish in life…” (Ridgeway 1911).


Length: 9 inches (Skutch 1999); 9 inches (23 cm) (Stiles et al 1989); 220-245 mm (Wetmore 1968)

Weight: 56 g (Stiles et al 1989); 59 g (standard deviation 4 g) (Howe 1979)

Measurements from Wetmore (1968) Ridgeway (1911):

Wetmore (1968) lists the following measurements (in mm) for several populations.
 Panama, male (n=23)Panama, female (n=11)Costa Rica, male (n=10)ssp sallaei, male (n=15)
(mean 113)
(mean 113.7)
(mean 120.4)
(mean 122.4)
(mean 117.7)
(mean 117.7)
(mean 120.4)
(mean 125.7)
culmen from base16-18.4
(mean 17.2)
(mean 16.9)
(mean 17)
(mean 16.9)
(mean 13.4)
(mean 13.6)
(mean 14)
(mean 13.9)
Ridgeway (1911) lists the following measurements (in mm) for T. caligatus in general. No sample sizes given
length(skin)214-254 (mean 229)213-247 (mean 231)
wing110-134 (mean 121.1)113-130.5 (mean 121.5)
tail112-135 (mean 122.6)114.5-135.5 (mean 126.1)
culmen15-18.5 (mean 16.6)15-17.5 (mean 16.7)
tarsus12.5-15 (mean 13.4)12.5-15.5 (mean 13.6)
innter anterior toe12-15 (mean 13.5)12-14 (mean 13.2)

Recommended Citation

Gartered Trogon (Trogon caligatus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: