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Resplendent Quetzal

(Pharomachrus mocinno)


Category: Birds



These small, colorful birds, with their iridescent green and red plumage are not only admired for their beauty, but are also an important part of Mesoamerican mythology. Because it was considered divine, it was a crime to kill a quetzal; to obtain its precious tail feathers for use in ritual, it was captured and released after plucking the desired feathers.




Data & Facts

Scientific Classification
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Aves
Order - Trogoniformes
Family - Trogonidae
Genus - Pharomachrus
Species - P. mocinno

Did you know?
Interesting Animal Facts

Asleep at the wheel?

Can you imagine spending nearly all of your life in the air? The common swift doesn’t have to - it just does! From the day this bird learns to fly, it almost never touches the ground voluntarily - it eats, drinks, mates, and may even sleep while flying. While sleep walking can be problematic in humans, many birds have the ability to enter a state called unihemispheric slow-wave sleep, where one half of the brain sleeps as the other remains alert. This method of “sleeping with one eye open,” is a great way to avoid becoming another animal’s meal, and has led to the suspicion that these birds, who almost never willingly land, also sleep while in flight!

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