Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno)

Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno

PROEVAL RAXMU Bird Monitoring Program in collaboration with Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development, studied the morphology and nesting ecoloy of Resplendent Quetzal. Continuous monitoring of Quetzal populations, supported by Stiftung Artenschutz, add information to demography of this cloud forest bird. Following papers were published:

Schulz, U. & K. Eisermann (2012) Morphologische Unterscheidung von Guatemala-Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno und Costa-Rica-Quetzal P. costaricensis anhand der Schmuckfedern. Ornithologischer Anzeiger 51: 70-74.

Abstract: Two subspecies of Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno were established by Ridgway (1911) based on morphological differences, P. m. mocinno of northern Central America and southern Mexico, and P. m. costaricensis of southern Central America. A recent genetic study (Solórzano & Oyama 2010) suggested that both taxa should be recognized as full species, Resplendent Quetzal P. mocinno and Costa Rican Quetzal P. costaricensis. This nomenclature is followed throughout this paper. Differences in the width of the upper tail coverts between Resplendent Quetzal and Costa Rican Quetzal were already mentioned by Salvin (1870) and Ridgway (1911), but no data supporting this statement were available. We provide a morphological separation based on measurements of specimens in several European museums. The data of 49 male quetzals show highly significant differences (p < 0,001) in the width of upper tail coverts of Resplendent Quetzal (Mean: 53.7 mm; SD: 9.2 mm; n = 30) and Costa Rican Quetzal (Mean: 37.7; SD: 4.9 mm; n = 19). These data support Solórzano & Oyama's proposal to separate both taxa. Our data, however, show no significant difference in the length of the upper tail coverts (p = 0.2675). The differentiation between two quetzal species enhances the importance of each cloud forest patch in Mesoamerica for the conservation of these species.

Eisermann, K. (2013) Noteworthy nesting record and unusual bill coloration of Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno. Cotinga 35: 76-80.

Resplendent Quetzal is a cloud forest specialist restricted to southern Mexico and Central America.
Back to Top