Family Trogons (Trogonidae)

Least Concern

White-tailed Trogon (Trogon chionurus)


French: Trogon de Sclater German: Weißschwanztrogon Spanish: Trogón coliblanco

Trogon chionurus

P. L. Sclater and Salvin

, 1871,

Lion Hill, Canal Zone, Panama


Closely related to T. melanocephalus, T. citreolus and T. bairdii; sometimes considered conspecific with T. bairdii. DNA studies suggest that present species may in fact be closer to T. violaceus and T. curucui#R. Until recently considered conspecific with T. viridis, but back purplish-blue vs deep green-blue (extensive area between purplish-blue mantle and rump), i.e. uniform from mantle to rump in chionurus, two colours in viridis, and in viridis the back showing up as bronzy yellow at certain light angles, not so in chionurus (2); crown blacker and more matt, much less shot with purplish-blue (2); outer tail all white vs white with black basal half on inner web (making a black V-mark below orange-yellow vent) (2); supposedly different structure to song (“strikingly different”#R), accelerating and dropping rather than remaining constant#R (score at least 1). Monotypic.


Atlantic slope of W Panama, from Bocas del Toro E through Canal Zone (whence on both slopes) to Colombia W of E Andes, and W Ecuador.

Descriptive notes

28–29 cm; male 87–95 g, female 68–94 g. Male has bluish-grey bill, pale blue orbital ring; head and breast bluish-black, belly to undertail-coverts bright yellow; upperparts... read more


Song of male in W Ecuador a very fast series of 15–20 “cow” or “cowp” notes, characteristically... read more


Found in mid-levels to canopy of humid forest and its edges, as well as mature second growth,... read more

Food and feeding

Almost nothing known, although one stomach from a specimen collected in Panama contained fragments of large ants and another held a small... read more


Very few data. Season; birds in breeding condition in Mar–Jul in Panama and Jan–May in W Colombia. Nests in NW Colombia were reportedly in... read more


Apparently sedentary, although there is a vague suggestion of local movements in W Ecuador.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally fairly common, including on Barro Colorado I, Panama, but seemingly rare in E Panamá Province. Reported as fairly adaptable in Panama,... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). White-tailed Trogon (Trogon chionurus). 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 17 January 2020).