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Breeding biology of Orange-breasted (Harpactes oreskios) and Red-headed (H. erythrocephalus) trogons in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand

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As tropical habitats continue to be cleared or degraded, obtaining basic information about the ecology of birds in intact habitats is essential for understanding their life histories. We studied the breeding biology of Orange-breasted Trogons (Harpactes oreskios) and Red-headed Trogons (H. erythrocephalus) in Khao Yai National Park in Thailand from 2003 to 2009. Nests were in excavated cavities in well-rotted stumps or other tree parts. Mean cavity heights were 2.1 m (N= 19) for Orange-breasted Trogons and 2.0 m (N= 49) for Red-headed Trogons. Eggs were laid every other day. For Orange-breasted Trogons, the mean clutch size was 2.4 ± 0.1 (SE) eggs (N= 17); incubation periods for two nests were 17 and 18 d, respectively, and the nestling period ranged from 12 to at least 14 d (N= 4). For Red-headed Trogons, the mean clutch size was 2.6 ± 0.1 eggs (N= 48), the mean incubation period was 18 d (N= 9), and the mean nestling period was 13.4 d (N= 5). In both species, both males and females excavated nest sites, incubated eggs, and brooded and provisioned nestlings. Only females incubated and brooded at night, and males provisioned nestlings more than females. Breeding seasons lasted from January to March for Orange-breasted Trogons, and from late February to July for Red-headed Trogons. Mayfield estimates of nest success were 8% and 9% for Orange-breasted and Red-headed trogons, respectively. Unusual for cavity nesters, nest failure due to predation was high and nestling periods short. The low nesting success is typical of many other tropical species, but considerably lower than reported for some Neotropical trogons, possibly due to the unenclosed structure of the nests of these Asian trogons.
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Keywords: Mayfield success; Trogonidae; clutch size; incubation; nest-predation; nesting; nestling period

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Conservation Ecology Program, School of Bioresources and Technology, King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, 49 Thakham, Bangkhunthien, Bangkok, 10150, Thailand

Publication date: June 1, 2011

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