Princess of The Eastern Forest

(No.8, Vol.3, Sep 2013 Vietnam Heritage Magazine)

Nuốc bụng vàng
(Orange-breasted Trogon)

An Orange-breasted
Trogon digging hole to build its nest

Young Orange-breasted Trogons

There are 39 different species of trogons (or quetzals) found in rainforests of Africa, America and Asia. It is interesting that their coats are all colourful, but none of them are the same. Male birds usually have more colourful coats than female birds.
Vietnam has three species of trogons: Ward’s Trogon (Harpactes wardi), which lives only in Hoang Lien Son mountains; Red-headed Trogon (Harpactes erythrocephalus), found from Thanh Hoa Province to other provinces of Northern Vietnam which are adjacent to Laos and the Orange-breasted Trogon (Harpactes oreskios), found from the Central Highlands to south-eastern provinces of Vietnam.
The Orange-breasted Trogon (nuốc bụng vàng) comes from the trogonidae family. It eats forest fruits and insect and has wide, round wings. It flies only short distances, lives in forests, hides on branches and almost never emigrates.
It has weak legs, a gentle flying posture, an olive-yellowish head and neck, deep brown eyes, blue eyelid folds, a blue and red bill and a colourful coat. It can spread its tail like a prom dress.
Because of these traits, it is called ‘The Princess of The Eastern Forest’.
It sings softly and clearly, just like a hen calling its chicks. When it flies, its tail spreads widely.
It often makes holes in trunks or digs into the dirt of termite mounds to build it nest. This way of nest building won’t deform its beautiful tail.
*Le Hoai Phuong is a freelance wildlife researcher.

Text and photos by Le Hoai Phuong*
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