Posted By Zoey T. Posted On

A Brightly Colored, Sluggish Bird, That Stands Out In His Crimson Waistcoat Despite Being Highly Elusive – Meet The Malabar Trogon!

Despite being a little sluggish in flight, this medium-sized, brightly-colored bird somehow manages to be highly elusive!


The Malabar trogon (Harpactes fasciatus), is a species of bird in the trogon family. Having a head that is almost slate black, the male’s breast is a similar color, finished off with a white border, giving the impression he is wearing a black bib. His lower breast, and belly, are crimson, his back olive-brown to chestnut. The wing coverts are black with fine white vermiculations. His 12 graduated tail feathers range in color from chestnut to black.

Photo Courtesy of Vinay bhat / CC BY-SA 4.0

The female lacks the contrasting black and crimson combination, having a slightly darker head and breast that fades into olive-brown on her back.

Where the male’s belly is crimson, hers is replaced by ochre. Both males and females have blue beaks and eyes.

Thattekad Bird Sanctury, Kerala India 29April12

Found throughout the forests of Sri Lanka, they are also found in India, mainly in the Western Ghats, and hill forests of central India, as well as some parts of the Eastern Ghats.

A resident of dense tropical forests, they feed on insects and fruit. Sri Lankan populations have also been seen eating seeds.

During the breeding season, a nest is made by both males and females in rotting trees and stumps, using their bills to excavate and hollow out rotting wood. The floor is made out of wood powder onto which two to three eggs are laid, then incubated by both parents for about 19 days, with the female taking the night shift. After hatching the hatchlings are fed mainly caterpillars for the initial period, then later on bugs.

Due to forest fragmentation, this species is becoming rarer in many parts of India.