Resplendent Quetzal and the Forest

Resplendent Quetzal and the Forest

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The Resplendent quetzal (pronunciation: /ˈkɛtsəl/) (Pharomachrus mocinno) is arguably one of the most beautiful birds of the World.

It can be seen and photograph in Costa Rica all year long, but some months are better than others.

 

San Gerardo de Dota is the best region in Costa Rica to see and photograph the Quetzal in all its glory. October to January are good months for photography because the Quetzal is a lot more approachable, normally perching in trees on the side of the road.

The cloud forest mornings, the home of the Quetzal.

 

A male perched on an Aguacatillo tree, the Quetzal main food source.

 

Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) under the morning light.

 

San Gerardo de Dota sky, showing its best lights.

 

When nesting, the Resplendent males will search for food, in this occasion a cricket was found for lunch.

Resplendent quetzals are considered specialized fruit-eaters, although they mix their diet with insects (notably wasps, ants, and larvae), frogs and lizards. Particularly important are wild avocados and other fruit of the laurel family, which the birds swallow whole before regurgitating the pits, which helps to disperse these trees.

 

Females although, not as colorful and magnificent, are also very beautiful.

 

The resplendent quetzal was considered divine, associated with the “snake god”, Quetzalcoatl by Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations. Its iridescent green tail feathers, symbols for spring plant growth, were venerated by the ancient Aztecs and Maya, who viewed the quetzal as the “god of the air” and as a symbol of goodness and light.

 

At some time of the year, the males can be seen perched at dawn and are quite easy to photograph.

 

The iridescent green tail feathers, symbols for spring plant growth, were venerated by the ancient Aztecs and Maya.

 

 

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