occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Type of Residency: Year-round
Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) This species is resident in the mountains of southern Arizona (Ramsey Canyon, rarely), northwestern Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Durango, Zacatecas, Nayarit, Jalisco, and Michoacán, at elevations of 1,675-3,100 meters (mainly 2,100-2,800 meters; it has been recorded casually elsewhere in southern Arizona (Huachuca and Chiricahua mountains) and Sonora, and there is a sight report for southwestern New Mexico (Animas Mountains) (Morse 1987, Collar et al. 1992, Williamson 1992, AOU 1998). It nested unsuccessfully in upper Ramsey Canyon, Huachuca Mountains, Arizona, in 1991 (Collar et al. 1992, Williamson 1992). The species exists at low densities in localized areas within its range (Collar et al. 1992, Howell and Webb 1995).
- Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
Length: 36 cm
Habitat and Ecology
Comments: Typical habitat includes pine and pine-oak forests (AOU 1998); this species also occurs in mixed conifer-broadleaf woodland of other kinds, and it also occurs in subtropical and tropical evergreen forests in winter. Nests are in tree cavities (e.g., dead pines; dead maple in Ramsey Canyon).
Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.
Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.
Seasonal movement patterns are not well known. Individuals may move to lower elevations in the nonbreeding season.
Comments: Diet includes insects and fruits (e.g., of madrone).
Number of Occurrences
Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.
Estimated Number of Occurrences: Unknown
Comments: The number of occurrences (subpopulations) has not been determined using standardized criteria.
2500 - 100,000 individuals
Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but likely is at least a few thousand. This species generally has been considered rare or uncommon and locally distributed within its range (Collar et al. 1992, Howell and Webb 1995), but surveys in the mid-1990s indicated that it is common in primary habitat and frequent (including nesting) in disturbed areas and riparian corridors in otherwise largely logged areas (Lammertink et al. 1996).
Life History and Behavior
Nesting occurs mostly in summer (June-July to September-October). Young depend on parents for weeks or months after fledging.
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N1B,N1N : N1B: Critically Imperiled - Breeding, N1N: Critically Imperiled - Nonbreeding
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Relatively small geographic range, mainly in Mexico; fairly common and rated as apparently stable in suitable habitat in the mid-1990s; vulnerable to loss of suitable nest trees from ongoing logging and could be declining as a result.
Global Short Term Trend: Unknown
Comments: Previously this species was though to be possibly declining from a variety of threats (Collar et al. 1992, Howell and Webb 1995), but more recent information suggests a relatively stable population (Lammertink et al. 1996).
Global Long Term Trend: Relatively stable to decline of 50%
Degree of Threat: Very high - high
Comments: Known threats include loss of nesting trees from increased logging pressure, outright destruction of habitat, agricultural encroachment, and increased human disturbance (Collar et al. 1992, Howell and Webb 1995).
La Michilía Biosphere Reserve is one of the most important sites for the species in Mexico (del Hoyo et al. 2001). Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out surveys to assess the population size. Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Monitor rates of deforestation throughout its range. Increase the area of suitable habitat with protected status. Conduct research into the species's breeding biology. Study the species's movements and dispersal patterns.
Biological Research Needs: Better information is needed on nest site selection, movements, and sensitivity to disturbance.
Global Protection: Few (1-3) occurrences appropriately protected and managed
Comments: Some occurrences are in protected or managed areas: La Michilia Biosphere Reserve, Durango, Mexico; and Coronado National Forest, Arizona, U.S. (Collar et al. 1992, Williamson 1992).
Needs: Protection of several large areas of pine and pine-oak forest in Mexico is urgently needed (Collar et al. 1992).
The eared quetzal (Euptilotis neoxenus), also known as the eared trogon, is a near passerine bird in the trogon family, Trogonidae. It breeds in streamside pine-oak forests and canyons in the Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico south to western Michoacán. It is sometimes seen as a vagrant to southeasternmost Arizona in the United States and has bred there. This range includes part of the Madrean Sky Islands region of southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and northern Sonora.
It is a resident of the middle to upper levels of pine-oak woodlands and oak-conifer forests, frequently along streams. It nests 5–9 m (16–30 ft) high in an unlined shallow tree cavity, usually selecting an old woodpecker hole. Nests have been observed in pine, fir, maple, and aspen trees. Limited excavation of the cavity is accomplished using the bill to dig into the rotten wood of the walls and opening.
Quetzals differ from typical New World trogons in having iridescent wing coverts, less extensive fusion between the two forward-facing toes of their heterodactyl foot, broad tails with distinctly convex (rather than straight or concave) sides, and eggs with pale blue shells. They also average larger in body size than typical trogons, and the eggs and young develop more slowly. The eared quetzal is a seemingly primitive form, lacking the impressively long iridescent upper tail and wing coverts of members of the genus Pharomachrus (including the resplendent quetzal).
Body length is 33–36 cm (13–14 in). Both sexes have iridescent green backs, iridescent dark blue central tail feathers, and outer tail feathers that are predominantly white terminally with a band of black at the base (sometimes partially barred black and white in females). The bill is dull gray with a slightly darker band at the tip. The adult male has a blackish head, iridescent green breast, and geranium red belly and undertail coverts. The adult female has a gray head, breast, and upper belly and less extensive (though equally bright) red on the lower belly. Both sexes bear the wispy hair-like auricular plumes that give the species its name, though these are rarely apparent in the field. Both head and bill appear rather small and narrow in comparison to those of typical trogons.
The male's song (tremolo call) is a series of whistled notes increasing in volume. Calls include low-intensity squeals rising in pitch, a loud squeal ending with a sharp "chuck," and a strident cackle given mostly in flight.
Eared quetzals feed on insects, small vertebrates, and fruit, including the warty red fruits of madrone trees. Caterpillars, moths, katydids, cicadas, small lizards, and other prey are fed to the young. Like other trogons, eared quetzals often pluck prey and fruit while hovering.
Members of this species have been observed to exhibit aversion to large areas of conspicuous color on and near human observers (negative chromotropic responses), including white, red, orange, and blue. This suggests that the species-confidence hypothesis, which states that birds tend to be attracted to colors that match those found in their species and repelled by colors not found in their species, does not apply to eared quetzals.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Euptilotis neoxenus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- Williamson, S. L. (1992). The Eared Trogon in Arizona: Behavior, ecology, and management of the "Northern Quetzal." pp. 98–101 in Proceedings of the Chiricahua Mountains Research Symposium, 15–16 March 1992. Southwest Parks and Monuments Association, Tucson, Arizona.
- Gutzwiller, Kevin J. and Marcum, Heidi A. "Avian Responses to Observer Clothing Color: Caveats From Winter Point Counts". Wilson Bulletin 105 (4): 628–636.