Tuesday, 12 January 2016 16:24

Ten target animals for our upcoming Costa Rica Tour - No 2

Here is the next instalment of our Costa Rica tour 'Target Species' blog.

2. The Resplendant Quetzal.


No wildlife trip to Costa Rica will be complete without an attempt to see this stunningly beautiful bird. In fact it was voted by National Geographic as the world's most beautiful bird, and you can see why.

Due to its size and brightly coloured / irridescent plumage, you would think it would be very easy to spot. However they are not the easiest bird to see as they have very specific habitat requirements and prefer higher elevations and cloud forests. They are also surprsingly hard to spot even when they are in plain sight, due to their colours. One trick to finding them is to first get into the correct habitat and find their preferred food. They like to eat the fruits of Lauraceous trees (similar to avocados), so find a tree in fruit and wait till one shows up.


Resplendent Quetzals have long been a sought after bird. In recent times, mainly by birdwatchers and eco-tourists, but previously they were revered by the Aztecs and Mayans who often wore their feathers on head dresses. The term Quetzal means precious or sacred in some mesoamerican languages, and for that reason quetzals were never killed for their feathers, just captured, pruned and set free. There is one Mayan legend that describes how the Quetzal used to sing beautifully before the Spanish invasion but is now silent and will continue its song once the land has been set free. Of course, this is nonsense and the bird does sing, albeit very unmusically. They are also the national bird of Guatamala and appears on the flag, even their currency is named after it!

In nesting season, Quetzal pairs will find a dead tree at the correct stage of decomposition, which they will then hollow out with their strong bill. This means that this specific habitat requirement can be a limiting factor on population density in a given area, hindering their population size. For this reason they are classed as Near Threatened by the IUCN as their habitat is disapearing all across Central America.


We will be making various attempts to see this stunning animal on our upcoming trip at the end of July. Message us if you are interested as places are now limited. Here is the infohttp://www.trekecoadventures.co.uk/…/97-costa-rica-2016.html

Facebook event page:https://www.facebook.com/events/694850320616653/

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