Family Trogons (Trogonidae)

Least Concern

Black-headed Trogon (Trogon melanocephalus)


French: Trogon à tête noire German: Schwarzkopftrogon Spanish: Trogón cabecinegro

Trogon melanocephala


, 1836,

Tamaulipas, Mexico


Original description clearly treats species name as adjectival; hence this becomes masculine to agree with genus name. Present species sometimes considered conspecific with T. citreolus; genetic data indicate that these two form a sister-group to T. viridis and T. bairdii#R. Populations of W Costa Rica described as race illaetabilis on basis of paler belly, but this character apparently not constant. Monotypic.


Atlantic slope of SE Mexico (including islands off Quintana Roo), N Guatemala, Belize, N Honduras and Nicaragua; also Pacific slope from El Salvador to N Costa Rica.

Descriptive notes

27 cm; 69–91 g. Male with bill pale blue-grey, orbital ring pale blue; head and breast dull blackish; white breastband, yellow rest of underside; wings greyish-black,... read more


Song a series of quickening clear barks, falling in pitch and stopping rather abruptly, “... read more


Species of natural open and secondary formations. Usually fairly low in open deciduous woodland and... read more

Food and feeding

Insects and fruits. Animal food includes Orthoptera (grasshoppers), mantises, dragonflies, large caterpillars (smooth and hairy, including... read more


May–Jun in Belize, Mar–Jul in Costa Rica. Nest an unlined chamber in an occupied termitarium 1·5–8 m up in tree, on fence... read more


Resident in Mexico. In Costa Rica, strays S to head of Golfo Dulce and E to Grecia along river... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common to fairly common in Mexico; found throughout Yucatán, where the commonest trogon. Most numerous trogon also throughout Belize; found to be... read more

Recommended citation

Collar, N. (2020). Black-headed Trogon (Trogon melanocephalus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 23 February 2020).