quetzal

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quetzal

(kĕtsäl`) or

quezal

(kāsäl`), common name for a magnificent bird of the family Trogonidae (trogontrogon
, family of tropical jungle birds related to the roadrunners and including the quetzal. Trogons are sedentary arboreal birds, 10 to 14 in. (25.4–35.6 cm) long, with short rounded wings, long squared tails, and small weak legs.
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 family), found in the rain forests from S Mexico to Costa Rica at altitudes of up to 9,000 ft (2,745 m). It is strikingly beautiful, with a crested head, bronze-green back, and crimson and white underparts. Quetzals nest in holes, and lay from two to four eggs per clutch. The male shares incubation duties with the female. The nesting hole has a single entrance, not two as was once believed. The Aztec and Maya used the 2-ft (61-cm) shimmering green tail plumes of the breeding male ceremonially and worshiped the bird as the god of the air, associating it with the god QuetzalcoatlQuetzalcoatl
[Nahuatl,=feathered serpent], ancient deity and legendary ruler of the Toltec in Mexico. The name is also that of a Toltec ruler, who is credited with the discovery of corn, the arts, science, and the calendar.
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. The quetzal, Pharomachrus mocino, is the national bird of Guatemala, and a monetary unit of the country is also called a quetzal. Quetzals are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Trogoniformes, family Trogonidae.

Quetzal

 

(Pharomachrus mocino), a bird of the order Trogoniformes. The body (without the tail) measures approximately 40 cm long. The head, breast, and back are an iridescent green, the lower part of the breast and the abdomen are crimson, and the tail is black and white and entirely covered by very long (up to 80 cm) upper coverts. The bird inhabits the mountain rain forests of Central America, from southern Mexico to western Panama. It nests twice a year in tree hollows, producing two pale blue eggs at a time. The quetzal feeds on small fruits. The young are initially fed insects and small lizards, then fruits. The quetzal is the national bird of Guatemala.