Costa Rica Quetzal

24 Facts about the Resplendent Quetzal:(Pharomachrus mocinno)

Resplendent Quetzal Costa Rica

Seeing a Quetzal for the first time can literally take your breath away. It is perhaps one of the most beautiful birds in the world and the settings in Costa Rica that you find them, such as a cloud forest, just adds to the beauty of this magnificent looking bird. If you have never seen one, do yourself a favor and make it a point to do so.

In this post, you’ll find 24 facts about the Quetzal, including size, strength, range and more.

Quetzal Overview

COMMON NAME: Resplendent Quetzal

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Pharomachrus mocinno

POPULATION STATUS: 50,000 left in the wild

TYPE: Trogon Family

DIET: Omnivore

SIZE: Body: 15 to 16 inches; tail: 24 inches

  1. Where does the Quetzal live?
    The resplendent quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) lives in cloud forests from southern Mexico to Panama, anywhere between about 4 to 7,000 feet elevation in these really moist, cloud-laden, very biologically rich forests.
  2. What is the habitat of the Quetzal?
    The Quetzal is found throughout the mountainous rainforests of Central America where they tend to prefer high mountain ranges at altitudes of between 4,000 and 10,000 feet. The Quetzal inhabits moist, tropical forests in areas that are cooler, contain dense vegetation and that are incredibly moist.
  3. Where do Quetzals nest?
    Quetzals prefer cloud forests in which the trees are 30-45 m tall. Habitat selection in Costa Rica is closely tied to the existence of fruit-bearing trees of the laurel family (Lauraceae), which includes the wild avocado.
  4. What does the Quetzal look like?
    The male quetzal has brightly colored tail feathers, which can be up to three feet long. The head, neck, chest, back and wings of the males are a metallic or iridescent green. The breast and belly are bright crimson. … The breast is sometimes gray or a muted shade of red, far less vibrant than the male coloration. The female quetzals are far less conspicuous than males. The head of the female ranges from smoky-gray to bronze tinged with green at the edgings. The breast is sometimes gray or a muted shade of red, far less vibrant than the male coloration.
  5. How tall is a Quetzal?
    A quetzal has a minimum size of 14 inches and a maximum size of 16 inches
  6. How much does a Quetzal weigh?
    A Quetzal weights on average 7 to 8 ounces
  7. What is the Quetzal’s wingspan?
    The minimum wingspan is 19 inches and a maximum wingspan of 21 inches
  8. How did the Quetzal get its name?
    The word quetzal was originally used for just the resplendent quetzal, the long-tailed quetzal of Guatemala, (more specifically a town called Petén) which is the national bird and the name of the currency of Guatemala.
  9. How strong is the Quetzal?
    Quetzal pairs use their strong and powerful beaks to hollow out nests in rotted trees or stumps. Sometimes, however, they simply take over and enlarge the abandoned nest
  10. What country has Quetzal as its national bird ?
    It is the national bird of Guatemala, and its image is found on the country’s flag and coat of arms. It also lends its name to the country’s currency, the Guatemalan quetzal
  11. How long do Quetzals live? Lifespan
    Quetzal has the average lifespan of 3 to 10 years and some sub species have a life span of 3 to 5 years
  12. What eats a Quetzal? Predators and Threats
    Predators of the Quetzals include the kinkajou, the gray squirrel, the Ornate Hawk-eagle and owls.
  13. Is the Quetzal endangered?
    Like many other animals, despite their beauty, their wonderful plumage and delightful name, they are now an endangered species.
  14. What do Quetzals eat?
    Quetzals are considered to be fruit-eating specialists. However, they supplement their diet with insects, lizards, frogs, and other small animals, which makes them omnivores
  15. What is the Quetzals Latin name?
    Pharomachrus mocinno
  16. How many sub species does the Quetzal have?
    There are six sub-species of Quetzal that are found in varying geographic locations including the Crested Quetzal, the Golden-headed Quetzal, the White-tipped Quetzal, the Pavonine Quetzal, the Eared Quetzal and the most famously known Resplendent Quetzal, all of which belong to the Trogon family of birds.
  17. Do Quetzals mate for life?
    They will mate for life so they are very selective about choosing a mate.
  18. At what age do Quetzal lay eggs?
    Quetzals become sexually mature at approximately 5 – 6 years of age.
  19. How many eggs does the Quetzal lay?
    After mating the female can offer up to 2 eggs in her nest.
  20. What do they look like?
    They are pale blue in color
  21. What is the Quetzals call?
    The song of the Resplendent Quetzal is a series of deep, smooth, slurred notes in simple patterns
  22. Where does the name Quetzal come from?
    Quetzal is taken from the Aztec word ‘quetzalli’ meaning precious or beautiful.
  23. Where can I see the Quetzal in Costa Rica?
    Monteverde Cloud Forest – Quetzales National Park -San Gerardo de Dota- Braulio Carrillo National Park
  24. Does the Quetzal migrate?
    After the breeding season Resplendent Quetzals migrate locally to areas with optimal food supply, with distances recorded of up to 50 km from the nesting site.

Final Notes

As you go looking for the Quetzal in Costa Rica, don’t forget a pair of binoculars and a good camera with a zoom lens, you may even want to hire a guide if you are in Monteverde in particular, as this will increase the odds of spotting one and you won’t come home disappointed

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