For the best-known species in this group, see Resplendent Quetzal.
Resplendent Quetzal
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Inopinaves
Clade: Afroaves
Order: Trogoniformes
Family: Trogonidae
Genus: Pharomachrus
La Llave, 1832
Quetzal Mesoamericano

Quetzal Mesoamericano

A male Resplendent Quetzal.

Quetzals (11px /kɛtsˈɑːl/ or 11px /ˈkɛtsəl/) are strikingly colored birds in the trogon family. They are found in forests and woodlands, especially in humid highlands, with the five species from the genus Pharomachrus being exclusively Neotropical, while the single Euptilotis species is almost entirely restricted to western Mexico. They are fairly large (all over 32 cm or 13 inches long), slightly bigger than other trogon species. Quetzals have iridescent green or golden-green wing coverts, back, chest and head, with a red belly. They are strongly sexually dimorphic, and parts of the females' plumage are brown or grey. These largely solitary birds feed on fruits, berries, insects and small vertebrates (such as frogs). Despite their bright plumage, they can be surprisingly difficult to see in their wooded habitats.

Conservation status

None of the quetzal species are under immediate threat in the wild, although the Resplendent Quetzal is at Near Threatened status.[1]


The name "quetzal" is from Nahuatl quetzalli, "large brilliant tail feather" (American Heritage Dictionary) or "tail coverts of the quetzal" (Merriam–Webster's Collegiate Dictionary), from the Nahuatl root quetz = "stand up" used to refer to an upstanding plume of feathers.

The word "quetzal" was originally used for just the Resplendent Quetzal, the famous long-tailed quetzal of Central America, which is the national bird and the name of the currency of Guatemala. It still often refers to that bird specifically but now also names all the species of the genera Pharomachrus and Euptilotis.

Pharomachrus is from Ancient Greek pharos, "mantle", and makros, "long", referring to the wing and tail coverts of the Resplendent Quetzal (the second h is unexplained).

Golden-Headed Quetzal, Pharomachrus auriceps, Expeditions the Birding Choco area

Golden-Headed Quetzal, Pharomachrus auriceps, Expeditions the Birding Choco area

A Golden-headed Quetzal.


Euptilotis neoxenus is related to Pharomachrus and is called the Eared Quetzal by some authorities, such as the American Ornithologists' Union, but the Eared Trogon by others.

See also


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2008.0). "Pharomachrus mocinno". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 31 October 2010.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • Restall, R. L., C. Rodner, & M. Lentino (2006). Birds of Northern South America. Christopher Helm. ISBN 0-7136-7243-9 (vol. 1). ISBN 0-7136-7242-0 (vol. 2).
  • Ridgely, R. S., & J. A. Gwynne, Jr. (1989). A Guide to the Birds of Panama with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras. 2nd edition. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-08529-3

External links


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