Bird Families of the World

Resplendent Quetzal

The trogons and quetzals are birds in the order Trogoniformes which contains only one family, the Trogonidae. The family contains 39 species (of which I have photographed 20 species so far) in seven genera. The fossil record of the trogons dates back 49 million years to the Early Eocene. They might be closely related to mousebirds and owls. The word trogon is Greek for "nibbling" and refers to the fact that these birds gnaw holes in trees to make their nests.
Trogons are residents of tropical forests worldwide. The greatest diversity is in the Neotropics, where four genera, containing 24 species occur. The genus Apaloderma contains the three African species. The genera Harpactes and Apalharpactes, containing twelve species, are found in southeast Asia.
They feed on insects and 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. Trogons are generally not migratory, although some species undertake partial local movements. Trogons have soft, often colorful, feathers with distinctive male and female plumage. They nest in holes dug into trees or termite nests, laying 2–4 white or pastel-colored eggs.

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