Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- This entry is about the bird called Quetzal. For the Guatemalan currency, see Quetzal (currency). For the file format, see Quetzal file format.
Ref: ITIS 553589 The Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) is a colorful bird of the trogon family found in tropical areas of southern Mexico and of Central America. This quetzal plays an important role in Mesoamerican myth.
Although "quetzal" is used to name all the species of the genus Pharomachrus, the word alone is often used to name one particular species, the Resplendent Quetzal (P. mocinno mocinno). There is also a subspecies, the Costa Rican Resplendent Quetzal, P. mocinno costaricensis.
Other quetzals include:
- P. antisianus: Crested Quetzal
- P. auriceps: Golden-headed Quetzal
- P. fulgidus: White-tipped Quetzal
- P. pavoninus: Pavonine Quetzal
Resplendent Quetzals have striking appearances, with a green body, red breast. Males possess unusually long and splendid green tailfeathers.
They have a mixed diet, consuming, for example, insects, fruit and frogs. Their habitat is mountain forests. The quetzals lay two eggs in a tree hole nest.
The Resplendent Quetzal is an endangered species.
The bird plays a prominent role in the region's Pre-Columbian mythology and in modern legend. Ancient Mesoamerican kings and high priests wore headdresses of quetzal feathers. In several Mesoamerican languages, the term for quetzal can also mean precious, sacred or erected.
The Resplendent Quetzal has never been successfully bred or been held for any long time in captivity, and indeed is noted for usually dying soon after if captured or caged. For this reason it is considered a symbol of liberty.
An image of a Quetzal is on the flag and national seal of Guatemala.
One Guatemalan legend claims that the quetzal used to sing beautifully before the Spanish conquest, but has been silent ever since—but will sing once again when the land is truly free.
- 14 December 2004, Nature: Mystery of 'chirping' pyramid decoded Acoustic analysis shows how temple transforms echoes into sounds of nature. Quote: "...sound waves ricocheting around the tiered steps of the El Castillo pyramid, at the Mayan ruin of Chichén Itzá near Cancún in Mexico, create sounds that mimic the chirp of a bird and the patter of raindrops...The bird-call effect, which resembles the warble of the Mexican quetzal bird, a sacred animal in Mayan culture...He himself is now sceptical of the quetzal theory..."
- ocasa.org: An archaeological study of chirped echo from the Mayan pyramid of Kukulkan at Chichen Itza by David Lubman. Acoustical Consultant, Hear the Quetzal in the cloud forest. (AV), "You will hear two Quetzal bird chirps (recorded in a rain forest) followed by two chirped echoes stimulated by a handclaps at the pyramid" (AV)
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