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Version 1.0

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Slaty-tailed Trogon Trogon massena

Daniel Horton
Version: 1.0 — Published October 31, 2014


Geographic Variation

Three subspecies generally recognized:

massena, described as Trogon massena Gould 1838; type locality Mexico.

Occurs from southern Mexico south to Nicaragua.

See Detailed Description.

hoffmanni, described as Troctes Hoffmanni Cabanis and Heine 1863; type locality Costa Rica.

Occurs in Costa Rica,Panama, and extreme northwestern Colombia, on the border with Panama in Chocó (Meyer de Schauensee 2949, Haffer 1975).

Similar to nominate massena, but smaller on average (Peters 1945); intergrades with massena in Nicaragua (Peters 1945). Also similar to australis, but smaller on average, and upper surface of rectrices more golden (Collar 2001). Collar (2001) also describes hoffmanni as "not well defined and possibly invalid".

australis, described as Curucujus massena australis Chapman 1915; type locality Barbacoas, Colombia

Occurs on the Pacific slope in Colombia and Ecuador.

Similar to nominate massena, but smaller; upper surface of the rectrices of the male bluish green, rather than bronze green, and female darker gray (Chapman 1915). Additional differences noted by Zimmer (1948) are that the undersurface of the tail in males is brownish rather than blackish; the terminal black band on the rectrices is relatively narrow; and the sides of the head are metallic green (similar to the color of the breast), and the color of the throat is "nearly equally so". Zimmer (1948) retained australis in Slaty-tailed Trogon, but suggested that it may be more closely related to Trogon melanurus macroura (Black-tailed Trogon) than to Trogon massena (and further suggested that macroura may not be conspecific with "true" Trogon melanurus from east of the Andes). Todd (1943) suggested that australis was a separate species because "australis and massena do not approximate each other geographically"; as Haffer (1975) noted, "a large distributional gap in the Atrato Valley [northwestern Colombia] probably separates" the ranges of hoffmanni and australis.



Trogon massena massena/hoffmanni


Trogon massena australis

Related Species

Phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data, from mitochondrial genes, identifies a clade that includes massena, Trogon mesurus (Ecuadorian Trogon), Trogon melanurus (Black-tailed Trogon), Trogon comptus (Blue-tailed Trogon), and Trogon clathratus (Lattice-tailed Trogon). Within this clade, clathratus is the basal species; melanurus is the sister to comptus, and the sister species to massena is mesurus (DaCosta and Klicka 2008). This study did not include samples from Trogon massena australis, and so does not address the relationships of this taxon (see Geographic Variation). Moyle (2005) also investigated the phylogenetic relationships of trogons, using both mitochondrial and nuclear genes; he also identified a clade including comptus, massena, and melanurus, but this study did not include samples of mesurus or clathratus.

Recommended Citation

Horton, D. (2014). Slaty-tailed Trogon (Trogon massena), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.slttro1.01