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Trogon

birds, species and toes

TROGON, a bird of the family Trogonider, of the order Coraciiformes or Coccygomorpitce, and unique in the structure of the feet, in which the first and second toes are directed backward and the third and fourth forward, whereas in all other yoke-toed birds the first and fourth toes are directed backward. The bill is short, strong and of wide gape; the tail generally long and in some socies very long; the feet small and often feathered almost to the toes. They form a well-marked family of insectivor ous and frugivorous forest-haunting birds of small size, whose dense, puffy plumage exhibits the most exqnisite tints of pink, crimson, orange, brown or metallic green, often relieved by delicate bands of pure white. In one Guatemalan species (Pharornacru.c mocinno), the long-tailed trogon or quetzal, the tail-cov erts of the male are enormously lengthened into waving plumes of rich metalic blue-green, as graceful and marvelous as those of the birds of paradise. This is the "national bird" of Guatemala, a distinction which it owes to its ancient association with the great Mexican deity Quetzalcoatl (q.v.).

Trogons are unable to use their feet for climbing, and usually take their station on the branches of a tree, dashing on insects as they fly past, or on some fruit at a little distance from them, and returning to their seat to eat what they have secured. The family includes about 10 genera and 50 species, which abound in tropical America with a few representatives in Africa and the Oriental region. A single species, the coppery-tailed trogon (Trogon am biguus), just enters the United States from Mexico. It is a magnificent metallic golden green bird less than a foot in length which nests in holes in trees and feeds upon fruits, insects, small lizards, etc. Consult Gould, 'Monograph of the Trogonidm' (London 1875) ; Godman and Salvin, 'Biologia Ameri cana-Centrali) (London 1896).