Red-headed Trogon

Red-headed Trogon
Red-headed Trogon Harpactes erythrocephalus hainanus, male, Jianfengling National Park (18.744938, 108.844438), Hainan, China. (Craig Brelsford)
Red-headed Trogon
Red-headed Trogon H. e. helenae, female, Nabang, Yunnan, elev. 410 m (1,350 ft.). (Craig Brelsford)
Red-headed Trogon
Red-headed Trogon H. e. yamakanensis, male, Fujian. (Kai Pflug)

Red-headed Trogon Harpactes erythrocephalus is the only trogon with a substantial distribution in China. Uncommon resident across southern China, from Sichuan and Yunnan to Jiangxi and Fujian. Race helenae western Yunnan, yamakanensis southern Sichuan to Fujian, rosa Guangxi (Yaoshan), intermedius southern Yunnan, and hainanus Hainan. HABITAT & BEHAVIOR Dense forests. Insectivorous and frugivorous; perches, often on low branch, for long periods and sallies out after flying insects. Undulating flight. Cavity nester. ID & COMPARISON Male has diagnostic apple-red hood. Mantle, back, and rump rufous-brown. Primaries black with white edges; coverts have white vermiculations. Tail long, chestnut brown, square-tipped, with black terminal band; black with white squares from beneath. Underparts red. White breast band. Female head rufous brown; vermiculations on coverts also brown. Pale red underparts. Juveniles have paler underparts than female; when older, juvenile males still resemble females but are distinguishable by vermiculations, which resemble adult male. BARE PARTS Bill short, bluish-black. Feet grey. VOICE Piercing, plaintive, one-note call, repeated 5 to 9 times at rate of about one note per second. Also whirring, cricket-like rattle. — Craig Brelsford

THE TROGONS OF CHINA covers all 3 species of trogon in China. Click any link below:

Orange-breasted Trogon Harpactes oreskios
Red-headed Trogon H. erythrocephalus
Ward’s Trogon H. wardi


Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.

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