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The Endangered Quetzal of Central America

The Quetzal is a very odd bird to see, there are 6 different species of Quetzal, all more beautiful than the last. Once you see one, you’ll know right away what it is. It’s bright colors and small sizes are distinct give-aways.

What a Quetzal Bird Looks Like

This question is getting harder and harder to answer, since many of the Quetzal bird species have died and are very tough to raise in captivity. If you see one, it will look as tropical and as diverse a toucan. The bird is one of a kind, and instantly recognizable for its yellow Mohawk, bright two-tone green over feathers that looks much like a feathered vest over its back and shoulders.

The “vest” hangs over the bird’s highly recognizable dark-red chest feathers. When seeing this rare bird, it makes one wonder why it’s colored in such a fantastic way.

The bright reds and yellows make a surprising contrast, and a strange one in a brown and green environment. Some of the colors make perfect sense though. This is evident when looking at features such as, the shading of the Quetzals green vest; it is patterned and shaped to looks like leaves of a tree.

The green back feathers swoop down to the small birds red chest plate. The back feathers are dark green at the edges but a light, almost neon green, in the centers. Its sharp yellow beak is almost as small as it’s beady black eyes, calling into question what the birds diet must be like.

Fighting Off Extinction

Well, it may be a strange looking bird to us, but beauty is in the eye of the one who see it. The Quetzal coloring is the bird’s best attempts at attracting a mate. The deep red chest serves as a sign of health and strength.

The stronger and brighter the colors, the healthier the bird may be. That translates into the strongest babies possible, in hopes of continuing their own species. The coloring may not serve a huge purpose in their day-to-day survival, but it plays a huge role in their ability not to become extinct.

The Quetzal’s brightly colored feathers may make it highly attractive to its mates. But unfortunately, it also makes it very attractive to poachers, too. Much like exotic animals from different locations, even great whites, the Quetzal has been infamously hard to keep alive in captivity. This is one of the hardest things for the Quetzal to overcome.

If they could be successfully bred and born in captivity, then the bird may have a real fighting chance to come back in big numbers. But, the sad fact it isn’t. It usually makes news in the world when even a few of these birds are born in captivity and make it past a few days.

This “live free or die” state of being can be respected by nearly all free thinking men and women, but that doesn’t make the plight of the Quetzal any lighter. If something isn’t figured out soon, this endangered Central American bird will make the step from endangered… to extinct.

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