Haiti’s National Bird: Caleçon Rouge


The beautiful Hispaniolan Trogon (Priotelus rosegaster) is the national bird of Haiti.  Its populations are threatened since the undisturbed forests that it prefers are disappearing in Haiti.  It is found mostly in the upper elevations of the mountain ranges and always in trees and shrubs.  The common name – Caleçon Rouge – refers to the red belly that resembles red shorts.

Trogons are brightly coloured birds with long, strongly graduated tails, small feet, and short, thick bills. The Hispaniolan Trogon has metallic green upperparts, a gray throat and breast, and a red belly and is separated from the closely related Cuban trogon by the more typical tail of this species. The underside of the tail is dark, but each rectrix is broadly tipped with white. Males and females look similar but the females’ wing coverts and secondaries lack the narrow white bars.

The song is rather slow and can be heard from quite a distance. It has a low rattle.

Breeding season is thought to be March to July. The nest is a cavity in a tree, including cavities of Hispaniolan Woodpecker, Melanerpes striatus. The only known clutches are of two eggs; eggs are pale green and unmarked.