A quetzal bird is widely considered to be the most beautiful bird in the world with its bright red under parts and glittering green head and back.
It also has elegant green shoulder plumes and a unique green helmeted look.
The skin of the quetzal is very thin and easily torn, so it has evolved thick plumage to protect its skin.
Like other members of the trogon family, it has large eyes that makes easy to adapt to the dim light of its forest home.
Quetzal birds feed on mostly fruits especially wild avocadoes and other fruits in the laurel family which the birds swallow whole before regurgitating the pits, which helps to disperse these trees. They also eat insects like wasps, ants, and larvae and fros.
Resplendent Quetzal is found from southern Mexico to Panama. In Costa Rica it is mainly in mountain forests, though it migrates down slope outside the breeding season.Quetzals usually live alone when they are not breeding.
When breeding, females lay two pale blue eggs in a nest to be found in a hole which they shape in a rotten tree. Both parents take turn to incubate the eggs.
During the incubation the male quetzal usually incubates the eggs during the day time while the female incubates the eggs during the night period. This period of incubation usually takes up to eighteen days.
When the eggs hatch, both parents help take care of the little birds. They feed the offspring fruit, berries, insects, lizards, and small frogs.
Chicks are born with vestigial claws on the bend in their wings but these are lost by the time they leave the nest 25 to 27 days later.
However, the female often neglects and even deserts the chicks near the end of the rearing period, leaving it up to the male to carry on caring for the offspring until they are ready to stay alive on their own.
Until recently, it was always thought that the Resplendent Quetzal could not be bred or held for any long time in confinement. People noticed that the bird had a tendency of usually killing itself soon after being captured or caged.
That is why it is a traditional symbol of liberty in a lot of cultures. However, a zoo in Mexico has kept this type of bird since 1992, and in 2004 breeding in captivity was announced ending the myth of the bird refusing to kept in captivity.