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.

References in periodicals archive ?
Comparative measurements of eggs and body masses of three species of Neotropical quetzals.
In Colombia and South America, detailed descriptions of nest and eggs are available for very few of the quetzal species.
Our observations represent the first detailed descriptions and images of the nest cavity and eggs of the White-tipped Quetzal (Pharomachrus fulgidus) in Colombia and northern South America.
Ornithologists are also studying quetzals in Costa Rica's Monteverde region, where sightings attract droves of nature lovers and birdwatchers hoping to catch a glimpse of the elusive bird.
Moreover, the number of Guatemalan quetzals is difficult, if not impossible, to peg because no one has done such a study.
Ironically, due to encroaching civilization and the popularity of the place, quetzals are seldom seen in the very reserve set aside to shelter them.
Nests are often used by Resplendent Quetzals for several years until the snag finally collapses.
The continued presence of Resplendent Quetzals is of primary interest to the inhabitants of San Gerardo de Dota as there are more than 12,000 visitors annually to the Quetzal Education Research Center.
Completion of the proposed Meso-American biological corridor in this area could be beneficial for Resplendent Quetzals and other species (Kaiser 2001).
The nest, clutch, egg color, nestling plumage, and nestling posture of the Pavonine Quetzal appear similar to that of Resplendent Quetzals (Skutch 1944, Johnsgard 2000).
The observed nestling period of 21-24 days for this nest was similar to that of Resplendent Quetzals (21-23 days in Costa Rica, Skutch 1944, Wheelwright 1983; 27 days in Mexico, Avila et al.
Despite authorities' assurances their money was safe, Guatemalans lined up in the street to withdraw savings from two shaky banks that received a 900 million quetzal (US$115 million) emergency credit injection, reports Reuters (March 5, 2001):