Conservation of the resplendent Quetzal

This topic submitted by Richard Torbeck ( at 10:49 PM on 4/25/05.

Melissa and friends walk the streets of Bocas, Panama.

Tropical Field Courses -Western Program-Miami University

Richard Torbeck
The conservation of the resplendent quetzal is very important with the quetzals draw of excotourists and birdwatchers alike. However, the conservation of this bird is in trouble due to its low breeding rate in captivity or its lifespan in captivity. Along with conservation efforts I am going o talk about the Taxonomy physical characteristics, mating, and habitat. I will provide the background information on the Quetzal through telling its storied history through the Mayan legends. This sacredness of the quetzal bird has transformed into the protection of the bird by making it the Costa Rican national bird.
Resplendent Quetzal
I. History
A. Connection with Mayan People
1. The feathers were considered scared because it the spiritual protector of the chiefs.
2. In the Mythology of the indigenous people connection with quetzcoatl
B. Costa Rican National bird
II. Trogonidae family
A. Genus Pharomachrus
1. Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno)
a. Characteristics
b. Taxonomy
c. Habitat
d. Mating and Behavior
B. Genus Euptilotis
1. Eared Quetzal (Euptilotis neoxenus)
a. Characteristics
b. Taxonomy
III. Conservation of Resplendent Quetzal
A. Montverde Cloud Forest Reserve
1. Protection of nests with Quetzal-cams
2. Radio tracking and tagging birds
3. Proclamation as the National bird of Costa Rica and Guatemala
4. Montverde Conservation Society
B. Widespread conservation in Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras
1. Protection of main food source the wild avocado
2. Protection of nesting grounds by acquiring wide areas to allow for altitude migration
3. Legal protection from the poaching of the bird
IV. Problems with Conservation
1. Problems with breeding in captivity
2. Problems with Deforestation of needed migration habitat
Howell, S. N. G., and S. Webb. 1995. A guide to the birds of Mexico and northern Central America. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Parker III, T. A., D. F. Stotz, and J. W. Fitzpatrick. 1996. Ecological and distributional databases for neotropical birds. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Ridgely, R.S. and Gwynne, J.A., Jr. 1989. A Guide to the Birds of Panama. 2nd edition. Princeton University Press, Princeton, USA.

Stiles, F. G., and A. F. Skutch. 1989. A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica. Comstock Publ. Associates, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York. 511 pp.

Zook, J. L. 2002. Distribution maps of the birds of Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. Unpublished.
Slud, Paul. 1964. The Birds of Costa Rica: Distribution and Ecology.
NY.Powell, George. 1995. Implications of intratropical migration on reserve design: A case study using Pharomachrus mocinno. Conservation Biology. Vol 9: (2) 354-362.
IUCN Red List of Threatened species. Viewed on 4/10/05

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