It is considered one of the most beautiful birds worldwide, revered by the Mayans and admired today by hundreds of tourists from multiple countries who visit our forests in search of the opportunity to contemplate it and capture moments that place our country with their glasses. as a benchmark in mountain tourism worldwide.
The quetzal is an elegant bird that stands out in its environment for its litmus feathers that hug the forest with beautiful hues accompanied by a song that stands out for being one of the most beautiful melodies that grace the mountains of San Gerardo de Dota in the southern area of our country.
Male and female vary greatly in terms of their attributes, he has a chest of red blood, green wings and back, a crest of fine feathers that could be confused with hair adorn his head along with a beak of imposing color red while its white tail is accompanied by two long feathers that confirm its maturity with green hues with an effect that makes them change to blue with the rays of the sun. These feathers are used for courtship, where with the intention of attracting the attention of the females the male rises in the air making an exclusive song for the occasion, if they achieve their task of finding a mate the male will look for a way to pluck their long feathers, which will give space to new ones that will be ready for the following year.
For its part, it has a gray chest, it does not have litmus plumage and its short tail has black stripes, all without detracting from beauty or prominence before its partner.
Meeting a celebrity
Our country has become one of the best sites for observing this majestic bird worldwide, since even when it can be seen in much of America (mainly from southern Mexico and even Panama), Costa Rica has the perfect climatic and soil conditions for the development of the “aguacatillo”, a wild fruit which turned out to be the favorite food of the Quetzal.
Its observation is recommended accompanied by a guide who knows the area and who manages to identify the best locations for your meeting. Additionally, you should know their routines, since being in a large area may miss the opportunity to find you if you do not have prior knowledge of their behavior.
"The ease with which it is found can vary according to the season in which we find ourselves, since its behavior is different in nesting or courtship season, it is not a shy bird, which allows better observation and photography, yes , as long as he and his surroundings are respected ”said Raúl Fernández, tourist guide of the Savegre Mountain Hotel.
According to Melvin Fernández, guide with more than 20 years of experience in observing this bird, “depending on the place, the most recommended hours to see the quetzal are from 5:00 am to 8:00 am, since by trend they feed first thing in the morning, hiding from direct sunlight, the fruit they feed on has a large seed which makes it difficult for them to fly, for this reason they can stay for a period of time in the tree while they digest, they then discard the seed and can fly more easily. These moments when the bird is still in the tree are perfect for observation and photography. "
Another reason why its feeding occurs in the early hours of the morning is because its feathers have an iridescent pigment which adopts a "mirror" effect of sunlight, which makes it difficult to camouflage and forces it to hide from their predators in the density of the forest.
A couple for life
Another characteristic element of the quetzal is that it is a monogamous species, which, unlike other animals, maintains a mate for life, which means that they return to the same nest year after year, which allows maintaining a certain type of control over the population growth and behavior.
The inhabitants of the Dota community understand the respect that must be had for this and all the species that inhabit its forests, for which they have developed their tourist projects paying tribute to the natural wealth that surrounds them, protecting it and sharing it with the Hundreds of tourists visit it year after year. This emblematic bird gives its name to the national park that comprises the area as a way of paying homage to the Quetzal from the country.