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Resplendent Quetzal

About Resplendent Quetzal

This is a medium sized bird with a large head, short, thick bill, big eyes, sturdy body, short legs and feet with two toes forward and two backward. Male’s upperparts, spiky head-crest, throat and upper breast, and long wing coverts and very long four narrow, flexible uppertail coverts brilliant iridescent green, appearing bright blue from some angles; flight feathers blackish, lower underparts bright red, undertail white. Female is duller with bronzy head, mainly green upperparts and largely gray underparts; bill yellow in male, blackish in female; legs grayish.

This bird breeds from March through June. They make a nest without a lining inside a deep cavity 13-88 feet (4-27m) high in the decaying wood of a tree or tree stump. They will have 1-2 eggs, taken care of by both the male and female.

With his stunning, elongated, electric green display plumes, the male Resplendent Quetzal is justly regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful birds. The name “Quetzal” comes from the language of the Aztec people of Mexico. They revered male Resplendent Quetzals as sacred and trapped them to obtain their long feathers for use in headdresses by their rulers and priests. Anyone who killed the bird was punished by the death penalty.