The Costa Rican Quetzal: One of the Most Beautiful Birds in the World

Its plumage was sought after like gold and precious stones. Classified by numerous experts as one of the most beautiful birds in the world. With an iridescent green and red body, yellow beak, and a multi-colored tail that can reach 65 cm in length, the Resplendent Quetzal never ceases to charm bird-watchers.

When can I a spot a Resplendent Quetzal?

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Coming across one is rare. The Resplendent Quetzal is an endangered species. Only a few specimens are left in Mexico and Central America. However, there is a large population in Costa Rica thanks to forest protection efforts.

Where and when to find a Resplendent Quetzal

The prime time for Resplendent Quetzal watching in Costa Rica is mid-February to July–their mating season. During this period, the bay and avocado trees bear fruit–the Resplendent Quetzal’s favorite meal.

Monteverde cloudy rainforest

It is the most popular Resplendent Quetzal habitat. Within 2.5 hours of the capital city, San José, it is a biological reserve housing 50 % of Costa Rica’s flora and fauna. It is known as one of Central America’s most diverse forests and as one of the most widely visited ecotourism destinations in the country.

Los Quetzales National Park

This protected area is 76.5 km from San José. Several flora and fauna species native to the Central American region are found here. In addition, this park is one of the top spots if you’re hoping to see exotic birds such as hummingbirds, trogons, tanagers, and Resplendent Quetzals. It is mostly visited during the first months of the year.

San Gerardo de Dota

This is a town located 88 km south of San José. It is another great spot for birding enthusiasts: around 200 can be seen here, including woodpeckers, fruit-eaters, peccaries, and Resplendent Quetzals. Visitors are free to choose from a variety of routes that will lead them to stunning scenery.

Braulio Carrillo National Park

Located in Heredia, a few kilometers from San José, this park is home to Barva Volcano and is bordered by Poás Volcano to the west and by Irazú Volcano to the east–which makes for fabulous landscapes. There are also pristine forests with ample wildlife. If you’re weighing birding options and want to learn specially about rare, breathtaking species as the Resplendent Quetzal, you won’t find a more suitable place than Costa Rica. Specifically, Mistico Park offers a Birding Guided Tour where you can see several of Costa Rica’s bird species.

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