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The name of this order of birds comes from the Greek verb "trogein" meaning "to gnaw". The birds in this order are brightly-coloured fruit and insect eaters. They live in the tropical regions of both the Eastern and Western hemisphere. The Coppery-tailed Trogon shows up in Arizona on rare occasions, and a bit more frequently along the Rio Grande (river) in Texas.

One species of Trogon, the Quetzal, has played an important role in the cultures of modern Mexico and Guatemala. Quetzals are particularly beautiful, and were sacred to many native cultures in Central America. At one time they were a symbol of the sun to the ancient Totonac indians in Mexico. Legend says the original site of Mexico City was chosen by the Aztecs (Nahuatl indians) because of a Quetzal. Their leader was told in a dream to build the great city of the Aztec empire where a Quetzal, with a snake in its mouth, was sitting on a cactus.

Trogons have beaks with saw-toothed edges which they use to grab fruit or insects while they are flying. Like parrots, they have two toes that point forward, and two that point backward. Their legs are short and weak. In most, the tail is much longer than their wings. [LH] {BA} {BI} {ID}

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