Family Trogons (Trogonidae)

Least Concern

Violaceous Trogon (Trogon violaceus)


French: Trogon violacé German: Veilchentrogon Spanish: Trogón violáceo

Trogon violaceus

J. F. Gmelin

, 1788,

no locality = Suriname


Sometimes placed in separate genus Chrysotrogon. DNA studies suggest possibly closest to T. viridis (with T. chionurus) and T. curucui, recent work#R indicating paraphyly, leading to proposed split of races caligatus (with sallaei and concinnus) and ramonianus (with crissalis) as two separate species#R, an arrangement practised in the past. Nevertheless, independent confirmation of this circumstance is needed, since plumage characters overlap extensively, rendering diagnosis problematic; moreover, despite remark that caligatus and violaceus have “strikingly different songs”#R, evidence online suggests that vocalizations in this complex are shared by taxa supposedly belonging to different species. N race commonly labelled as braccatus, but name sallaei has priority#R. Extensive individual variation in degree of bronzy tinge on back in nominate and race caligatus led to description of rossi, now considered a synonym of nominate. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. v. sallaei Bonaparte, 1856 – Caribbean slope of E & S Mexico, also Pacific slope of S Mexico, and Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and N Honduras; possibly this race in Nicaragua.
  • T. v. concinnus Lawrence, 1862 – Costa Rica, Panama (except Caribbean slope of Darién), W Colombia (Nariño), W Ecuador and NW Peru (Tumbes).
  • T. v. caligatus Gould, 1838 – Gartered Trogon – NE Panama (Caribbean slope of Darién) into N Colombia and W Venezuela.
  • T. v. violaceus J. F. Gmelin, 1788 – Guianan Trogon – E Venezuela, the Guianas and adjacent N Brazil; Trinidad.
  • T. v. ramonianus Deville & Des Murs, 1849 – Amazonian Trogon – Amazonian areas of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil; also penetrates S Venezuela (upper R Orinoco).
  • T. v. crissalis (Cabanis & Heine, 1863) – NE Brazil on S bank of lower R Amazon and tributaries (E of R Tapajós).
  • Descriptive notes

    23–25 cm; 38–57 g. Male nominate race has bill pale blue-grey, orbital ring pale yellow; head to mid-breast violet-blue, with mask and throat black, white... read more


    Song is a long series of rapid hollow downslurred whistles, “kyu-kyu-kyu-kyu-kyu-kyu”,... read more


    In N of range appears to enter primary evergreen forest, heavy and light rainforest (common in such... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruit and small invertebrates. Possibly more frugivorous than other trogons, since several stomachs of birds from El Salvador held just... read more


    Mar–Jun in Mexico; inferred May/Jun in Belize; May–Jul in El Salvador; Feb–Jun in Costa Rica; birds in breeding condition... read more


    Resident in Mexico; probably also elsewhere, but no definite information available.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to fairly common in Mexico, where abundant in upper tropical zone of Veracruz in 1940’s, but not abundant in Yucatán. Common in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2020). Violaceous Trogon (Trogon violaceus). 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 January 2020).