Fun Quetzal Facts For Kids

Divya Raghav
Jan 17, 2023 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Natalie Rayworth
Fact-checked by Sapna Sinha
Read these quetzal facts to learn more about this stunning bird.

The resplendent quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno, Euptilotis ) is a medium-sized bird that are found inhabiting the damp, tropical forests of Central America from Mexico down to Panama. Of the genus pharomachrus, there are six sub-species of quetzal that are found in varied geographic locations.

These subspecies include the crested quetzal, golden-headed quetzal, white-tipped quetzal, pavonine quetzal, eared quetzal, and resplendent quetzal. Interestingly, they all belong to the trogon family of birds.

The quetzal is a vaguely colored bird with metal-like plumage and are widely thought of to be one of the most strikingly beautiful birds in the world.

Although the females grow short tail feathers, quetzals are known for their long attractive tails. The males also grow twin tail feathers.

Males additionally feature a distinctive tuft of golden-green feathers that includes a crest on top of their heads and long twin tail feathers.

Although females don't grow such a long train, they are of the same coloration as the males, although their feathers aren't quite as bright. The redness of their chest is commonly a lot duller, or sometimes gray, and that they have gray or bronze-colored heads which are edged with green.

The feet of quetzal are distinctive, with two toes facing forward and two on the back on every foot which aid the quetzal when they're perching high in trees.

Here on our page, we have lots of interesting facts on quetzals that everyone will enjoy. Let's have a look at these interesting facts and if you do like these, read our birds of paradise and barn owl facts.

Quetzal Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a quetzal?

Quetzals are an appropriately named bird. Several people consider this bird to be among the world's most stunning birds. These colored animals sleep in the tropical forests and the mountainous areas of Central America. There they eat insects, lizards, fruit, and different tiny creatures.

What class of animal does a quetzal belong to?

A resplendent quetzal is a species of bird that belongs to the class of aves.

How many quetzals are there in the world?

According to certain scientific research, it was estimated that about 50,000 quetzals are left in the world. Resplendent quetzals are under the status of Near Threatened and are almost getting to the status of Endangered as their population is declining every day.

Where does a quetzal live?

Quetzals prefer to live in tropical forests and in high and moist cloud forests. Quetzals are the only species that are found in Central America from Mexico to Panama. They are colorful birds who were given the title of sacred bird by the ancient Aztecs and Mayans.

What is a quetzal's habitat?

Quetzals are found in the tropical forests and the mountainous areas of Central America where they have a tendency to reside in high mountain ranges. The locals commonly call them el quetzal.

The quetzals inhabit wet, tropical forests in areas that are cooler and which contain dense vegetation.

Cloud forests are one of the most successful habitats for the quetzal where the high wetness levels cause there to be a good deal of fog within the forest.

Quetzals sleep in holes of trees or on the highest canopy of a tree that they've either built themselves using their sturdy powerful beaks, or ones that were already used and abandoned by woodpeckers.

Who do quetzals live with?

Quetzals are birds who prefer to live solitary lives and only come together during the mating season. The male and females make a nest in holes at the canopy layers of trees in a dense forest. The hole may already be used by some other birds, but quetzals rebuild them quickly using their sturdy and sharp beaks.

How long does a quetzal live?

Resplendent quetzals can live up to 20 to 25 years. These birds, unlike other birds, cannot live in captivity as they can only survive while living free in cloud forests.

How do they reproduce?

Quetzals use their sturdy beaks to form holes in decaying trees in the forest in order to make a nest where they lay their eggs.

Female quetzals lay between one and three eggs within the hole which are then incubated by the males and the females alternatingly. However, due to the very fact that the male quetzals grow twin tail feathers that will mature to 36 in (3 ft) long, they're typically seen protruding out of the nest when he's sitting on the eggs.

Incubation of the eggs can last up to three weeks.

What is their conservation status?

Resplendent quetzals have the conservation status of Near Threatened, and they are almost at threat of becoming Endangered if their population continues to decline. According to the National Autonomous University of Mexico, they are coming up to the threat of Extinction due to human interruption in their lives, including habitat destruction and poaching.

Although they were given the title of national bird in Guatemala, they are also threatened in that range. They are sometimes trapped or killed as people want to capture them and keep them as a pet.

Quetzal Fun Facts

What do quetzals look like?

Resplendent quetzals are colorful and stunning birds. They come in a variety of colors including green, red, black, blue, and golden. Their long and beautiful tails are black and green in color, whereas their head is golden in color with a beautiful feather-like crest. The females have a red chest which appears very attractive and beautiful from a distance.

Fun Quetzal Facts For Kids

How cute are they?

Quetzals are adorable birds. These blue-golden birds are the main tourist attraction of Central America and Mexico city. El quetzals, as they are locally called, are viewed as Gods of the air and bird watchers refer to them as a symbol of light and goodness in the community.

How do they communicate?

Quetzals communicate with each other through a variety of noises and their body language. These noises that they produce while communicating are used for various purposes, such as indicating danger, mating, and nesting issues.

How big is a quetzal?

Quetzals are the national bird of Guatemala and can range up to 30-35 in (76-90 cm) in length and 14-16 in (35-40.5 cm) in height. The quetzal's size is ten times larger than an arthropod.

How fast can a quetzal fly?

Quetzals start flying when they are about three weeks old. These birds can fly very high but the actual flying speed of the quetzal is not officially recorded.

How much does a quetzal weigh?

The average weight of a quetzal can range from 0.4-0.5 lb (7–8 oz).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no different names for the male and female species of the quetzal. But it is easy to differentiate between the two as the male has a bright green color with a red chest and belly, while the female has a less bright color with more brown color on their body.

What would you call a baby quetzal?

A baby quetzal is also called a chick or a young quetzal. Sometimes the young chick is only cared for by the males as the female often neglects the chick before the rearing period ends.

The male quetzal takes care of the offspring by itself until the young are ready to survive on their own. Male quetzals perform more when it comes to parenting among the quetzals.

What do they eat?

Quetzals are omnivorous animals with a diet that includes fruit, plants and animals. The normal diet that a quetzal follows is plants, berries, small insects, and small animals like lizards.

Are they dangerous?

Quetzals are not dangerous or aggressive animals by nature. But like all other birds, a wild quetzal will eventually turn aggressive when an egg has been taken from their nest.

Would they make a good pet?

Because of their extraordinary look and scarceness, quetzals are a preferred tourist attraction for bird-watchers in some locations. They're typically caught and trapped to be kept as pets, or to be used as tourist attractions, which has drastically declined their numbers.

Quetzals are known to die soon after they are caged or captured.

The bright, long tail feathers of the males were utilized in clothes worn by royalty. Quetzals remain to be a precious bird in many countries and together with Guatemala and Costa Rica, their numbers are declining because of various human interferences in their natural habitats, including their capture to be displayed for profit in captivity.

Did you know...

Quetzals have two toes facing forward and two backwards, this helps them in balancing on the tree branches.

Quetzals don't like to walk as their feet are small and cannot support the birds when walking.

Another fun fact about quetzals is that the quetzal, who are known for their long and beautiful tails, do not grow until they are at least three years old. Some quetzals do not reach sexual maturity up until they are six years old.

How did the quetzal get its name?

The name quetzal is as unique as the bird itself and the meaning of the name is 'sacred' or 'precious'. The bird itself is divine and is considered the national bird of Guatemala.

The bird is significant to the Guatemalan people, and they even worship them. Quetzals are regarded as a symbol of light and goodness for the region and community.

Why is the quetzal important to Guatemala?

Quetzals are important to Guatemala and were given the title of national bird because of the many legends and myths surrounding the bird.

It is said that a quetzal bird helped the local hero Tecún Umán in the later stages of the Spanish conquest of the Guatemala region. It is also said that the bird got the red chest feathers after they landed on the warrior princes blood, indicating the Guatemala regions victory during the Spanish conquest.

After that myth, the local people search for quetzals as they are considered to be lucky if seen flying above your head.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including secretary bird, or great green macaw.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our quetzal coloring pages.

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Written by Divya Raghav

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

Divya Raghav picture

Divya RaghavBachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

With a diverse range of experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. Born and raised in Bangalore, she completed her Bachelor's in Commerce from Christ University and is now pursuing an MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. Along with her professional pursuits, Divya has a passion for baking, dancing, and writing content. She is also an avid animal lover who dedicates her time to volunteering for animal welfare causes.

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Fact-checked by Sapna Sinha

Bachelor of Business Management specializing in Financial Management

Sapna Sinha picture

Sapna SinhaBachelor of Business Management specializing in Financial Management

Sapna has a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Poornima University, Rajasthan. She has writing experience from working for a news agency as a writer, interning at various companies, and writing and editing articles on education.

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