FIELD GUIDE Animal Directory
Catching a glimpse of the quetzal, one of the most striking and beautiful tropical birds, is the reason many people visit Costa Rica. The male, with its iridescent metallic-green feathers and arrestingly intense blood-red chest, bedazzles everyone who sees it in its cloud forest habitat. It also features 24-in- (60-cm-) long tail feathers that it uses to impress females during mating displays. The female is less flamboyant.
Although the quetzal’s mixed diet includes caterpillars, insects, and even small frogs and lizards, it is primarily a frugivore that relies on wild avocados (aguacatillos) and other fruits of the laurel family. The quetzal ...