Nestled within the lush, steamy embrace of the South American jungle, a symphony of melodic “kua kua kua kua” notes cuts through the humid air. If you follow this enchanting melody, you may just be fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of the resplendent green-backed trogon (Trogon viridis).
This remarkable avian species, the largest among the yellow-bellied trogons, boasts an impressive length of 28.5 cm (11.2 inches). Much like their trogon counterparts, these birds exhibit strong sexual dimorphism. The males are adorned with a dark blue, iridescent head and breast, while their backs shimmer with iridescent green. Their underparts radiate with shades of orange to yellow, while their wings are a striking black, adorned with delicate white vermiculations. The males further flaunt large tail tips finished elegantly in white and a pale blue eye ring.
In contrast, female green-backed trogons bear a striking resemblance to their male counterparts, though their backs, heads, and breasts are cloaked in gray. What truly sets them apart are the highly distinctive barring patterns on the outer webs of each tail feather.
The melodious song of the green-backed trogon is a delightful sequence of approximately 20 “cow” notes. This serenade begins slowly but gradually accelerates toward its melodious conclusion.
These magnificent birds call the tropical humid forests of South America home, with their range encompassing the Amazon, the Guiana Shield, Trinidad, and the Atlantic Forest in eastern Brazil. They are most commonly encountered in and around these lush, tropical forests, often being the most prevalent trogon species in their habitat.
Green-backed trogons, characterized by their robust bills and relatively weak legs, primarily nourish themselves with fruit. However, during the dry season when fruit is scarce, they supplement their diet with arthropods and lizards.
Nesting habits of the green-backed trogon are equally intriguing. They make their homes in termite colonies or hollows of decaying trees, with the female typically taking charge of nest excavation. This process usually occurs from June to August, resulting in a clutch of 2 to 3 pristine white eggs. These eggs are incubated for a period of 16 to 17 days, followed by an additional two weeks before the chicks take their maiden flight.
Remarkably, the green-backed trogon is relatively common throughout its range and enjoys a conservation status of “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List, a testament to the robustness of this captivating species.