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  • Writer's pictureS Santosh Kumar (sukubirder)

Birds in Northeastern India: Red-headed Trogon

(Nikon D500, 200-500mm lens; 1/640, f/6.3, ISO3200; hand-held; @Mahananda WLS, 25/02/23)

Red-headed Trogon (Harpactes erythrocephalus): One of the star attractions of the region, this brightly plumaged bird can be surprisingly difficult to spot as it is mostly stationary and may occasionally fly quietly in the dense broadleaved forests of the tropical and subtropical zones of the Himalayan foothills. The word ‘trogon’ is Greek for ‘nibbling’ and refers to the fact that these birds gnaw holes in trees to make their nests. There are three Trogon species in India, the other two being Malabar Trogon and Ward’s Trogon. Trogons are the only birds with heterodactyly, a unique arrangement of toes where the first and second toes point backward while the third and fourth toes point forward. The trogons also have the weakest legs and feet among the birds and are essentially incapable of walking other than an occasional shuffle along a branch, and for turning around on a branch they have to use their wings.

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Aug 15, 2023
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