Family Trogons (Trogonidae)

Least Concern

Golden-headed Quetzal (Pharomachrus auriceps)


French: Quetzal doré German: Goldkopftrogon Spanish: Quetzal cabecidorado

Trogon (Calurus) auriceps


, 1842,

Quito, Ecuador


Closely related to P. pavoninus (which see). Birds from NE Colombia currently placed in nominate race, but sometimes included in hargitti; population of W Ecuador described as race heliactin, but apparently inseparable from nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. a. auriceps (Gould, 1842) – E Panama (Cerro Pirre), and Andes from Colombia S to E Peru and C Bolivia.
  • P. a. hargitti (Oustalet, 1891) – Sierra de Perijá and Andes of Venezuela.
  • Descriptive notes

    33–36 cm, with male's tail plumes up to 8–10 cm more. Male of nominate race has yellow bill, gold-bronze head, metallic golden-green upperparts and breast,... read more


    Melodic, mournful, far-carrying, hawk-like whistles, repeated 6–8 times, “whe-wheeu,... read more


    Inhabits humid and wet mid-elevation montane and foothill forest, less frequently forest edge and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruits, frequently Cecropia, Ocotea calophylla and Ficus, especially F. cundinamarcensis; also... read more


    Female seen in tree hole in Mar in Colombia; 4 nests close together in May in Ecuador. No further information available.


    No information.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common throughout its range, including Panama. In Colombia, rare in Los Nevados National Park and uncommon in Munchique National Park; in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Bonan, A. (2019). Golden-headed Quetzal (Pharomachrus auriceps). 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 13 December 2019).