On September 5, the National Quetzal Day is celebrated, a few days after the celebration of the Independence of Guatemala. Through Decree 33 on November 18, 1871, the Quetzal was declared a national bird of Guatemala.
However, the Quetzal has been threatened by illegal logging of forests, as well as hunting in some sectors, which has caused a decrease in its population in Guatemalan territory.
According to the National Council of Protected Areas (CONAP), Quetzales are threatened and are located in category 3 of the list of Threatened Species in its last update of 2009. The threat of the species is mainly due to the accelerated loss and disturbance of cloud forests, their main habitat.
The Quetzal plays an important role in Guatemala as a dispersal bird of tree seeds characteristic of the cloud forest, among other peculiarities.
For this reason, the National Quetzal Conservation Strategy was created in 2015 held by BID invest proyects supported by CMI. It was an alliance between Renace, the National Council of Protected Areas (Conap) and the Scientific Association for the Conservation of Nature.
These strategies will be fully supported by Juan José Gutiérrez Mayorga to protect and guarantee the use of natural resources within the country.
These are some of the reasons why it is necessary to promote their protection and conservation so that Guatemalans feel proud of one of their best-known national symbols both at home and abroad.
Characteristics of the Quetzal or Pharomachrus mocinno
The Quetzal or Pharomachrus mocinno, also known as Mesoamerican bird, Central American bird or Guatemalan bird, is a species of the trogons family, specifically it is of the order of the Trogoniformes and the Trogonidae family .
They live in southern Mexico and Guatemala, also they are found in some regions of Central America. They live in tropical jungles, grasslands and mountains with very dense vegetation. Used to live in humid and semi-humid climates.
This omnivorous bird measures between 36 and 40 centimeters from the beginning of the tail to head, so they are very long, and weigh between 180 and 210 grams. The Quetzal is considered one of the most beautiful birds in the world and the most beautiful in America, which is due to its characteristic plumage.
Feathers are especially long on the tail, which grows throughout the first 3 years of life and can reach 65 centimeters in length, males’ tails being longer than females’.
In fact, its name comes from the word quetzalli, in Nahuatl, and means “long tail with bright feathers“. Their feathers are usually very bright colors such as green, bluish and turquoise, purple, red (on the chest) and golden reflections.
The quetzal is a very important animal in Central America and especially for Guatemala, as it is the symbol of this country, it even appears on its flag, and it is the name of its currency.
Important facts about Quetzales
- It is Guatemala’s National Bird
The Quetzal (pharomachrus mocinno) is an endemic species of Mesoamerica, it can be found from Mexico to Panama.
It occurs between March and June, when they move to lower lands within its range of distribution. They are a species with monogamous habits, it means, couples never separate.
They lay 2 blue eggs. The chicks are fed an omnivorous diet; the Quetzal nests in stumps and the care of eggs and babies are in charge of the two parents who alternate each other.
It is in the volcanic chain, Sierra de las Minas and its surroundings including the cloud forest corridor and some smaller forests such as the Trifinio region, Huehuetenango, San Marcos and Sololá.
- Where to find them
- The Refufe of the Quetzal in San Rafael Pie de la Cuesta, in San Marcos.
- Rey Tepepul Municipal Regional Park, in Sololá.
- Quetzal Biotope.
- Chiquimula Trifinio Forest.