This is one bird I was very keen to see in Costa Rica. It is considered by many to be one of the world’s most beautiful birds.
A member of the Trogon family and national bird of Guatemala, Quetzal is the Aztec name for the long tail feather. Quetzals were sacred to the Maya and Aztecs. For the Aztecs, Quetzalcoatl was a force for good; the god is symbolised by the head of a serpent adorned with Quetzal feathers. Quetzals were freed after their feathers had been taken; there was penalty of death for anyone killing the bird.
Quetzals live in evergreen montane forests at 900-3,200m. In Costa Rica they were hunted for their plumes until 1970.
Like many Trogons, they spend a long time sitting still high in the canopy, digesting the wild avocados they swallow whole. Their central plume is 65-90cm long. As a consequence they have to fall backwards off a perch to fly!
Ref: IMG 7317
Location: Costa Rica