Guatemala Wildlife – 10 Things You Must Know About El Quetzal
Quetzals are beautiful exotic birds and one of many Guatemala’s treasures, but because of all the illegal hunting and the destruction of their habitat they are in the list of the to be extinct animals unless things change. In Guatemala it can be found in El Biotopo del Quetzal, Baja Verapaz.
Here are some things you have to know about them:
Find the best places to go for wildlife viewings in Guatemala.
1. There are six different kinds of Quetzals and they are all endangered.
2. Guatemala’s former President Jose Maria Orellana in 1924, gave this country’s currency the name of this beautiful bird.
3. For ancient and modern Mayans it is a symbol of light and peace.
4. There is a whole reserve dedicated to them called Biotopo del Quetzal.
5. Incas, Mayans and Aztecs used the feathers (that can reach a size of 70cm) of their tales to decorate their outfits, mainly the royalty.
6. The males can be a meter long and can weigh up to half pound because of their tales. The best way to tell the difference between male and female is the color of the chest, female’s chest is grey instead of red.
7. They need to live in a tropical forest that’s why they can be found from Chiapas, Mexico to Panama.
8. They can only have two eggs at once, these eggs are blue and measure 3 centimeters. The time it takes them to come out of the shell is 17 to 18 days . The reproductive time is between March and June.
9. A Guatemalan legend says that when the Spaniards came there was a horrible fight between them and the Quiches (an ancient town of Mayan natives), once it was over many quetzals landed on dead Mayan’s bodies where they got stained in their blood and that’s where they got their red chests from.
10. Quetzals are considered specialized fruit-eaters, although they mix their diet with insects (wasps, ants, and larvae) and small frogs.