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10 Facts You Need to Know About the Bare-Cheeked Trogon

The Bare-cheeked Trogon is a vibrant bird species known for its unique physical features and impressive resilience. This bird can be found in the tropical forests of West and Central Africa.

In this article, we will explore the identification, plumages, and molts of the Bare-cheeked Trogon.

Identification

Field Identification

The Bare-cheeked Trogon stands about 14 inches tall and has a wingspan of approximately 18 inches. It has a dark green head, black bill, reddish-brown upperparts, and a yellow belly.

The bare skin around its eyes, which gives the bird its name, is blue in males and black in females. Both sexes have a deep blue band on their wings, visible when in flight.

Similar Species

When it comes to bird identification, it is important to recognize similar species to avoid confusion. The Bare-cheeked Trogon is similar in appearance to the Narina Trogon, which can be found in southern Africa.

However, the Narina Trogon lacks the blue band on its wings and has brown irises, unlike the yellow ones found in the Bare-cheeked Trogon.

Plumages

The Bare-cheeked Trogon has a unique plumage, distinguished by its striking green and yellow coloration. Males and females have similar plumages, with the only noticeable difference being the color of the bare skin around their eyes.

Molts

The Bare-cheeked Trogon undergoes a complete molt once a year. After breeding season, both males and females shed their feathers and grow a new set.

During the molt, the birds’ appearance may change slightly, as they lose their fresh, vibrant plumage for a brief period. As we have seen, the Bare-cheeked Trogon is a fascinating bird with exceptional physical features.

Its stunning coloration, unique bare skin, and impressive resilience make it a true delight to behold. With the information provided in this article, you can now confidently identify this magnificent bird in the wild.

, as the purpose of the article is to provide a comprehensive overview of the systematics history, historical changes to distribution, geographic variation, subspecies, and related species of the Bare-cheeked Trogon.

Systematics History

The Bare-cheeked Trogon is a species belonging to the Trogonidae family, which includes over forty-five species of birds primarily found in tropical and subtropical forests worldwide. The family has been around for millions of years, with fossils of trogons dating back to the early Eocene epoch.

The Bare-cheeked Trogon was first described by Jean Cabanis in 1878. However, the species has undergone taxonomic changes over the years.

In 1944, Ernst Walter Mayr argued that the Bare-cheeked Trogon should be split into two species, based on slight differences in bill and wing length. This idea was later dropped, and the species is currently recognized as a single entity.

Geographic Variation

The Bare-cheeked Trogon is found in the tropical forests of West and Central Africa, from Liberia and Sierra Leone to western Uganda and extreme northern Democratic Republic of Congo. Due to its wide distribution, the species exhibits geographic variation in plumage.

Subspecies

There are four recognized subspecies of the Bare-cheeked Trogon, each with slight variations in appearance and distribution:

1. Apaloderma aequatoriale aequatoriale: Found in southern Nigeria and Cameroon, and the Rio Muni region of Equatorial Guinea.

This subspecies has a slightly larger bill than the other subspecies and a blue patch on its undertail coverts. 2.

Apaloderma aequatoriale eoafricanum: Found in eastern Central African Republic, southern Sudan, and western Uganda. This subspecies has a slightly smaller bill and lacks the blue patch on the undertail coverts.

3. Apaloderma aequatoriale po: Found in Angola, Congo, and northwestern Zambia.

This subspecies has a yellowish-green tinge to its upperparts, and the blue patch on its undertail coverts is less prominent. 4.

Apaloderma aequatoriale sjoestedti: Found in southeastern Cameroon, Gabon, and the Central African Republic. This subspecies has a more bluish-green tinge to its upperparts and has a black patch on its undertail coverts instead of blue.

Related Species

The Bare-cheeked Trogon is closely related to other trogons found in Africa, such as the Narina Trogon (Apaloderma narina) and Bar-tailed Trogon (Apaloderma vittatum). These species share similar physical features, such as bare skin around the eyes and a blue band on their wings, but have subtle differences in plumage and distribution.

Historical Changes to Distribution

The historical distribution of the Bare-cheeked Trogon is unclear. However, like many tropical forest species, the Bare-cheeked Trogon has likely experienced habitat loss and fragmentation due to human activity, such as logging and agriculture.

These threats remain a concern for the species, as the forests it inhabits continue to be degraded and destroyed. In addition, changes in climate and weather patterns may also impact the Bare-cheeked Trogon’s distribution.

As temperatures and precipitation patterns change, the species may be forced to shift its range to adapt to new environmental conditions.

Conclusion

In summary, the Bare-cheeked Trogon is a fascinating bird species with a rich systematics history. Its wide distribution has led to geographic variation and the development of several subspecies.

The species is closely related to other trogons found in Africa and has likely experienced historical changes to its distribution due to human activity and climate change. Understanding the systematics and historical changes of the Bare-cheeked Trogon is critical to its conservation and management.

, as the purpose of the article is to provide a comprehensive overview of the habitat, movements, and migration of the Bare-cheeked Trogon.

Habitat

The Bare-cheeked Trogon is a bird species primarily found in the tropical and subtropical forests of West and Central Africa. The species prefers mature, primary forests with tall trees, but can also be found in secondary forests and forest edges.

The bird’s habitat is characterized by the presence of dense vegetation and a variety of tree species that provide food and nesting opportunities. Additionally, forests with a rich diversity of plant and animal species provide the Bare-cheeked Trogon with plenty of opportunities for foraging and finding suitable breeding sites.

Movements and Migration

The Bare-cheeked Trogon is generally considered a sedentary species, meaning it does not undertake long-distance migrations. However, individuals have been observed moving short distances in response to fluctuations in food availability or the presence of predators.

During the breeding season, the Bare-cheeked Trogon typically remains in its breeding territory, defending it against intruders and potential threats. Once breeding is complete, the birds may disperse to nearby areas to forage and find suitable nesting sites for the following breeding season.

Historically, the Bare-cheeked Trogon’s range has been stable, but recent studies have identified potential range shifts due to climate change. As temperatures and precipitation patterns change, the species may be forced to shift its range to adapt to new environmental conditions.

Conservation Concerns

Habitat loss and degradation remain the primary threats to the Bare-cheeked Trogon’s survival. Logging, agriculture, and other forms of human activity have led to the degradation and fragmentation of tropical forests throughout West and Central Africa.

This destruction and fragmentation of habitat limit the species’ ability to forage, breed, and maintain its population. In addition, the Bare-cheeked Trogon’s reliance on mature, primary forests makes it particularly vulnerable to habitat loss.

These forests are often the first to be targeted by human activity due to their high commercial value, leaving the species with limited suitable habitat. Climate change may also impact the Bare-cheeked Trogon’s habitat in the future.

As temperatures and precipitation patterns change, the species may need to shift its range to adapt to new environmental conditions. Effective conservation measures for the Bare-cheeked Trogon involve protecting existing habitat, restoring degraded areas, and implementing sustainable forest management practices.

Additionally, monitoring and researching the species’ movements and distribution will help inform conservation efforts and ensure its long-term survival.

Conclusion

In summary, the Bare-cheeked Trogon is a sedentary species that inhabits tropical and subtropical forests in West and Central Africa. The species is adapted to habitats with dense vegetation, a variety of tree species, and a rich diversity of plant and animal species.

Habitat loss and degradation remain the primary threats to the species’ survival, highlighting the importance of effective conservation measures to protect its habitat and ensure its long-term survival. Understanding the Bare-cheeked Trogon’s movements and distribution is critical to its conservation, particularly as climate change continues to impact its habitat.

, as the purpose of the article is to provide a comprehensive overview of the diet and foraging behavior, as well as vocal behavior, of the Bare-cheeked Trogon.

Diet and Foraging

Feeding

The Bare-cheeked Trogon is an omnivorous bird species, meaning it feeds on both plant and animal material. It is primarily a frugivorous bird, meaning it feeds on fruit, but also consumes insects, spiders, and other small animals.

The bird typically forages in the mid-strata of forest trees, persistently searching for ripe fruits to feed on. Additionally, the Bare-cheeked Trogon also feeds on insects and other arthropods, which are an essential protein source for the species.

Diet

The Bare-cheeked Trogon’s diet is largely dependent on the availability of fruit and other food resources in its habitat. During the dry season, the species may rely more heavily on insects and other arthropods, but during the wet season, fruit availability is more abundant, leading to an increased consumption of fruit.

The plant species that the Bare-cheeked Trogon feeds on varies throughout its range. Preferred fruit species include figs, palm fruit, and berries.

Insects and spiders are also an essential component of the species’ diet, particularly as a source of protein for nesting adults and growing juveniles.

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

The Bare-cheeked Trogon is a tropical bird species and has adapted various physiological mechanisms to regulate its body temperature. The bird’s high metabolic rate helps it maintain a constant body temperature in the warm, humid environments where it lives.

Additionally, to help regulate body temperature, the Bare-cheeked Trogon has the ability to pant and gape to dissipate heat. These behaviors help prevent overheating and allow the bird to remain active and forage during the hottest parts of the day.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

Vocalization

The Bare-cheeked Trogon is known for its distinctive vocalizations. Males and females have distinct vocalizations, with males producing a series of deep, resonant, hollow-sounding calls that can carry for long distances through the forest.

Females produce a similar but shorter and higher-pitched call. In addition to vocalizations, the Bare-cheeked Trogon also communicates through body language.

During the breeding season, males will puff out their chest feathers and fan their tails to signal their dominance and attract a mate.

Conclusion

In summary, the Bare-cheeked Trogon is an omnivorous bird species that primarily feeds on fruit but also consumes insects and other small animals. The species is adapted to its tropical habitat, with a high metabolic rate and physiological mechanisms to regulate body temperature in the warm, humid environments in which it lives.

The Bare-cheeked Trogon is also known for its distinctive vocalizations, with males producing deep, resonant calls and females producing a similar but higher-pitched call. Understanding the species’ diet, foraging behavior, and vocalizations is critical to its conservation and management.

, as the purpose of the article is to provide a comprehensive overview of the behavior, breeding, demography, and populations of the Bare-cheeked Trogon.

Behavior

Locomotion

The Bare-cheeked Trogon has a distinctive, floppy flight, with slow, deep wing beats and upwardly curved wings. In addition to flying, the species is also capable of hopping and walking along tree branches.

Self Maintenance

Like other bird species, the Bare-cheeked Trogon engages in various self-maintenance behaviors to keep its feathers in good condition and remove ectoparasites. These behaviors include preening, dust bathing, and sunbathing.

Agonistic Behavior

During the breeding season, males engage in agonistic behavior, such as territorial displays and battles with other males, to maintain their breeding territory and attract a mate.

Sexual Behavior

The Bare-cheeked Trogon is a monogamous species, with pairs remaining together for multiple breeding seasons. During courtship, males perform displays to attract a female, including fanning out their tails and moving their head from side to side.

After pair formation, the male will guard the female and their territory from other males to ensure successful breeding.

Breeding

The Bare-cheeked Trogon breeds between December and June, with the exact timing varying throughout the species’ range. During breeding season, males will defend their breeding territories from other males and engage in displays to attract females.

After pair formation, the birds will construct a nest in a tree cavity or abandoned woodpecker hole. The female will lay 2-3 eggs per clutch, which are incubated by both parents for approximately 16-20 days.

Once hatched, the chicks are fed by both parents for roughly 3 weeks until they fledge the nest.

Demography and Populations

The Bare-cheeked Trogon is a relatively common species throughout its range, but like many tropical forest birds, it is vulnerable to habitat loss and degradation. As a result, the species is listed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), but conservation measures are necessary to ensure its long-term survival.

There is currently no information about the population size or trends of the Bare-cheeked Trogon. However, monitoring and research efforts are critical for understanding the species’ demography and populations, and informing conservation and management measures.

Conclusion

In summary, the Bare-cheeked Trogon is a monogamous bird species that breeds between December and June and constructs its nest in a tree cavity or abandoned woodpecker hole. During the breeding season, males engage in agonistic behavior to defend their territory and attract a mate.

The species engages in various self-maintenance behaviors such as preening, and has a distinct, floppy flight. While the species is relatively common throughout its range, habitat loss and degradation remain significant threats to its survival, highlighting the importance of conservation measures to protect its habitat and ensure its long-term survival.

In conclusion, this article has provided a comprehensive overview of the Bare-cheeked Trogon, a fascinating bird species native to the tropical and subtropical forests of West and Central Africa. Through examining the species’ systematics history, historical changes to distribution, habitat, movements and migration, diet and foraging, vocal behavior, behavior, breeding, and demography, we have gained a deeper understanding of this remarkable species’ unique adaptations and behaviors.

Despite being relatively common throughout its range, threats such as habitat loss and degradation remain significant, highlighting the importance of conservation measures to protect the species’ habitat and ensure its long-term survival. As such, continued research and conservation efforts are essential to preserving this remarkable species for future generations.

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