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Quetzal by ERIKAVELAZQUEZ

The resplendent quetzal is an aptly named bird that many consider among the world’s most beautiful. These vibrantly colored animals live in the mountainous, tropical forests of Central America where they eat fruit, insects, lizards, and other small creatures.

During mating season, male quetzals grow twin tail feathers that form an amazing train up to three feet (one meter) long. Females do not have long trains, but they do share the brilliant blue, green, and red coloring of their mates. Male colors tend to be more vibrant.

Resplendent quetzals are also known as Guatemalan quetzals, and the birds are the symbol of that nation. Guatemala also trades in currency known as the “quetzal.”

Unfortunately, these striking birds are threatened in Guatemala and elsewhere throughout their range. They are sometimes trapped for captivity or killed, but their primary threat is the disappearance of their tropical forest homes.

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