The Resplandescent Quetzal
3 Nov 2014 | From Paola of Costa Rica
Quetzals are strikingly colored birds in the trogon family. They live in the mountainous, tropical forests of Central America where they eat fruit, insects, lizards, and other small creatures. The Resplandescent (resplendent) Quetzal is well known for its colorful plumage. They are considered as among the world's most beautiful birds. People say that while you're gazing upon a quetzal, a forest flower is watching you.
These vibrantly colored birds birds are threatened throughout their range. They are sometimes trapped for captivity or killed, but their primary threat is the disappearance of their tropical forest homes. In some areas, most notably Costa Rica's cloud forests, protected lands preserve habitat for the birds and provide opportunities for ecotourists and eager bird watchers from around the globe.
The bird was sacred to the ancient Maya and Aztec peoples, and royalty and priests wore its feathers during ceremonies.