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Resplendent Quetzal - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Kite
Costa Rica, March 2011
Pharomachrus mocinno


Photo by Greg Lavaty
Monteverde, Costa Rica, January 2009

36–40 cm (14¼-15¾ in)

  • Green body, with green-gold to blue-violet iridescence
  • Red breast
  • Green upper tail coverts
  • Helmet-like crest
  • Underside of tail is pure white
  • Yellow beak


  • Black bill
  • Red in vent area
  • Greyish-brown breast
  • Tail has uneven spacing of black barring on the underside

Juvenile male can easily be mistaken for a female; look for developing red plumage on the breast to distinguish it.


Southern Mexico to western Panama, Nicaragua, where it is the national bird, and Costa Rica.



There are two subspecies[1]:

  • P. m. mocinno:
  • P. m. costaricensis:


May be seen at all tree levels right up to the canopy of undisturbed evergreen montane forests especially in areas with epiphytes.



Photo by Coati
Finca Lerida, Chiriqui, Costa Rica, March 2011

The diet consists mostly of fruit (especially avocados) also insects (wasps, ants, and larvae), and frogs. They sometimes hover while they take the fruit.


The nest is placed in a hole, excavated in a rotten tree. The 2 pale blue eggs are incubated by both parents for 18 days (the male during the day; the female at night). Both adults care for the young, which are fed on fruit, berries, insects, lizards, and small frogs. The female may depart before the young are fully fledged.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved June 2017)
  3. Wikipedia

Recommended Citation

External Links

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