|At a Glance|
Both sexes have vivid, gingery green upperpart plumage. The tail feathers have a metallic blue-green gloss. The outer three rectices on each side are tipped and fringed white, giving the under tail of perched birds a characteristic white appearance (compare bar-tailed trogon). The wing coverts are a grizzled grey, and remiges mostly colourless grey.
The male especially, has bright amaranth red underside plumage and bare, green gape and eye flanges. The female has brown face and chest plumage, blue skin orbiting the eyes and duller red plumage below. Immature birds resemble females, but have distinct white tips to the tertials (inner wing), and less distinct gape and eye flanges.
It is well-known for being difficult to spot because it can perch still for long periods with its back to any potential threat so that it blends in with the surrounds.
It feeds mainly on invertebrates, such as caterpillars, spiders and mantids, rarely feeding on small reptiles.
It nests in natural tree cavities, which are notoriously difficult to find. It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes, for 16-21 days. The chicks are brooded in the early stages of their life, staying the nest for 25-28 days. They remain with the parents months after fledging, even when they can get their own food.
Occurs across much of sub-Saharan Africa; within southern Africa it is locally common in the Caprivi Strip (Namibia), northern Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and eastern and southern South Africa.
It generally prefers evergreen lowland and afromontane forest, as well as riverine forest in savanna, with trees such as acacia.
Threatened by land use transformation and habitat destruction particularly that of riverine forests.
They are reasonably common in parts of Krantzkloof and can be often heard with their characteristic hoot.
Popular spots are at the Kloof Falls picnic site and the path heading from there to the Ronald’s Kloof Weir and on the forested section of the Mpithi Trail.
Narina Trogons are able when threatened to secrete an extremely foul-smelling liquid from the preen gland at the base of the tail.
The meaning of the generic name Apaloderma is ‘thin skinned’, a name given to the family because of the fact that it has very thin skin that tears easily when skinned!
The species name is Khoikhoi in origin, believed to come from Narina, the mistress of the French ornithologist François Le Vaillant.
A sound clip is available on SoundCloud.