Apaloderma narina (Narina trogon) 

Bosloerie [Afrikaans]; Intshatshongo [Xhosa]; Narina-trogon [Dutch]; Trogon narina [French]; Narina-trogon, Zügeltrogon [German]; Republicano [Portuguese]

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Apaloderma narina (Narina trogon)  Apaloderma narina (Narina trogon) 

Narina Trogon male on perch. It can perch while completely motionless  for up to 30 minutes!  [photo Stephen Davis ©]

 Narina trogon male. [photo Hugh Chittenden ©]

The Narina trogon occurs in Africa south of the Sahel, from Ghana to Ethiopia, extending south to Angola and southern Africa, where it prefers to live in indigenous forest. 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.

Distribution and habitat

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,  Mopane (Colophospermum mopane), Zambezi teak (Baikiaea plurijuga), Lebombo-ironwood (Androstachys johnsonii) and alien Eucalyptus trees.

Distribution of Narina trogon in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Call

 
   

Recorded by O.M. Prozesky, [© Transvaal Museum]

 

Food 

It feeds mainly on invertebrates, such as caterpillars, spiders and mantids, rarely supplemented with small reptiles. It hunts by sitting motionlessly on a perch, occasionally moving its head side to side and up and down, looking for prey. Once prey is located, it rapidly grabs it before returning to its perch. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

Breeding

  • If you want more info on the Narina trogon's breeding cycle, see birdinfo.co.za.
  • It is a monogamous, solitary nester, with very strong pair bonds. Courtship is highly elaborate, with a 'floating lek', in which 3-7 males gather together to aerially chase each other, while the females pick out their mates. This display is followed by more courtship displays which last a few more days. In this period the pair locate their nest site.
  • It nests in natural cavities in trees (see images below), especially the following species:
    • Strychnos decussata (Cape-teak)
    • Combretum kraussi (Forest bushwillow)
    • Siderxylon inerme (White milkwood)
    • Vitellariopsis marginata (Forest bush-milkwood)
    • Ptaeroxylon obliquum (Sneezewood)
    •  dead Ficus (Wild fig)
Apaloderma narina (Narina trogon)  Apaloderma narina (Narina trogon) 

Male (left) and female (right) at their nest cavity, Ithala Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. [photo Johann Grobbelaar ©]

  • Egg-laying season is from November-February.
  • It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for 16-21 days.
  • The chicks are fed mainly by the male, roughly 3 times an hour. The following food items have been recorded in the chicks diet:
  • The chicks are brooded in the early stages of their life, leaving the nest after about 25-28 days. They remain with the parents for months after fledging, even when they are able to get their own food.

Threats

Not threatened, although out-competed for nesting sites in urban areas by Common starling.

References

  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG (eds) 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 

 

 

 

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