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quetzal

quetzal (kĕtsäl´) or quezal (kāsäl´), common name for a magnificent bird of the family Trogonidae (trogon family), found in the rain forests from S Mexico to Costa Rica at altitudes of up to 9,000 ft (2,745 m). It is strikingly beautiful, with a crested head, bronze-green back, and crimson and white underparts. Quetzals nest in holes, and lay from two to four eggs per clutch. The male shares incubation duties with the female. The nesting hole has a single entrance, not two as was once believed. The Aztec and Maya used the 2-ft (61-cm) shimmering green tail plumes of the breeding male ceremonially and worshiped the bird as the god of the air, associating it with the god Quetzalcoatl. The quetzal, Pharomachrus mocino, is the national bird of Guatemala, and a monetary unit of the country is also called a quetzal. Quetzals are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Trogoniformes, family Trogonidae.

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quetzal

quetzal Forest bird of Central America. The male is bright green above and crimson below with iridescent green tail plumes forming a 60cm (2ft) train. The Aztecs and Mayas regarded the quetzal as sacred and wore the tail plumes ceremonially. The duller female nests in a hole, often in a tree, and lays two eggs, which are incubated by both parents. Family Trogonidae; species Pharomachrus mocinno.

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quetzal

quet·zal / ketˈsäl/ • n. 1. a bird (genus Pharomachrus) of the trogon family, with iridescent green plumage and typically red underparts, found in the forests of tropical America. The male resplendent quetzal (P. mocinno) has very long tail coverts and was venerated by the Aztecs. 2. the basic monetary unit of Guatemala, equal to 100 centavos.

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quetzal

quetzal See TROGONIDAE.

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