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Gartered Trogon Picture

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The Violaceous Trogon, Trogon violaceus, is a near passerine bird in the trogon family, Trogonidae. The nominate group, which also includes the subspecies ramonianus and crissalis, occurs in the Amazon Basin and on Trinidad. The caligatus group, which also includes the subspecies concinnus and braccatus, occurs in Mexico, through Central America to the Chocó, northern Colombia, the Magdalena Valley, and north-western Venezuela. The two groups are often considered separate species, in which case the latter becomes the Northern Violaceous Trogon, Trogon caligatus (Ridgway, 1911), leaving the nominate group as the Amazonian Violaceous Trogon. Additionally, it has been suggested that the west Amazonian taxon ramonianus should be considedered a separate species.

It is a resident of moist tropical forests, where it nests in a wasp, ant or termite nest or a hole in a rotten tree, with a typical clutch of two or three white eggs.

Violaceous Trogons feed on insects and small fruit, and their broad bills and weak legs reflect their diet and arboreal habits. Although their flight is fast, they are reluctant to fly any distance. They typically perch upright and motionless.

Trogons have distinctive male and female plumages, with soft, often colourful, feathers. This relatively small species is about 23cm long and weighs 56 g. The head and upper breast of the male are blue and the back is green, becoming bluer on the rump. A white line separates the breast from the orange yellow underparts. The undertail is white with black barring, and the wings are black, vermiculated with white. The complete eye-ring is yellow. The female Violaceous Trogon resembles the male, but has a dark grey back, head and breast, and an incomplete white eye-ring.

This species resembles the White-tailed Trogon, but the latter is larger and has a complete pale blue eye-ring in both sexes. Furthermore, the male White-tailed Trogon lacks barring to the undertail, and where the Northern Violaceous Trogon overlaps with the White-tailed Trogon, the female of the former has barring on the outer webs of the tail-feathers, while the female of the latter has barring limited to the basal half of the inner webs. Where the Amazonian Violaceous Trogon overlaps with the White-tailed Trogon, the tails of the females are very similar.

The shade of the blue of the head in the male differs between the Northern and Amazonian Violaceous Trogons, but the call is the main distinction between the two. The former has a slurred whistled cuh-cuh-cuh, and Amazonian has a soft cow cow, cow.

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