Sunday, 27 November 2011

Malabar Trogon

         The Malabar Trogon (Herpactes fasciatus) aka Theekkakka ('Theekkakka' means ‘fire-crow’ – ‘Thee’ means fire, ‘kakka’ means crow) are found in forests all over Peninsular India. Once you spot this bird, you’ll fall in love with it. Similar to the size of a house crow, the trogons likes to sit still for some time, having an eye on the possible food targets.  If you can keep still for some time on trogon’s territory, you can easily find them out. Because, they wont sit for a long time on the same spot. Generally, they would resort to  short flights to some nearby branches.  While flying, the first thing that catches your eyes will be the edge of the tail, which is white. So, if you can wait patiently for some time, you’ll definitely note them . It would look like they are very reluctant to fly. The call is often a persistent ‘cue cue cue… ‘.

Trogon Male

Trogons have a bluish bill and the skin around the eye is also blue. You wont note it most of the time because, the bird prefers shadows and very reluctantly come to the open.  The males have darker head and the belly is crimson red. These birds are monogamous.

Trogon female

           The female has got dull colours, with its belly somewhat brownish yellow.  

Trogon with its back towards the camera :)

 Once the trogons know that we are watching them, they will sit in such a position that the belly is not seen to us. The upper part has got olive brown colour and its very difficult to locate them from the bushes.

            They often build their nests, a hole, on dead or weak stems. Both the male and the female actively participate in the building process. These magnificent birds feed exclusively on insects.

            Photographing the trogon is a difficult proposition altogether. The first thing is that they wont be sitting on good perches. They would invariably sit in the shadows. Other thing is that, once they detect the camera, they wont show their bellies !! .. So, most of the time, your best shot will be the first shot when you happen to see this bird. This bird also likes to hunt with the other birds (in hunting parties). I’ve seen them with the drongos, woodpeckers, bulbuls, babblers etc.. The only thing is that these are like back-stage actors. While the drongos, orioles, bulbuls etc.. enliven the front-stage, the trogons go about their business in a very quiet manner. It seems they dont like the limelight.  


  1. Beautiful write up & snaps of Wonderful Bird..!!

  2. nannayittundu bijuvetta... language and photos... :)

  3. "u will fall in love with it" ...CORRECT..!that male...see ..male is male.!HE IS A BEAU

  4. Good write up, I spotted my first Malabar Trogon last week in Parambikulam, I was lucky enough to find 3 (A pair and a single male) The experience of shooting the Trogan is exactly how you have described here. That has made it all the more challenging and makes me wanna go for more.
    Hope I'll find more in the coming days :)

  5. ya.. its always fun to watch them. best of luck next time Harish.. :)