All of the Monteverde Reserve is a gorgeous paradise, but one species there may be especially eye-catching to birders on International Expeditions’ Costa Rica tours.

The resplendent quetzal, or Pharomachrus mocinno, is the star attraction of the cloud forest, which is also home to parrots, motmots, hummingbirds and toucans. The vibrant green, blue and red plumage of this bird may be seen flying through the wind-sculpted elfin woodlands and lush rainforests of this park. The reserve, which comprises six different ecological zones, is also home to more than 2,000 species of plants, including a variety of orchids, mosses, ferns and bromeliads.

Aside from its brilliant plumage, the resplendent quetzal is easily recognizable by its amazingly long tail feathers. Males grow twin tail feathers that form a train up to three feet long during mating season. Females do not grow the train, but share the bold coloring of the male.

Birders in Costa Rica will join thousands in the bird's long history of admirers, the news source reports. The quetzal was sacred to the ancient Maya and Aztec people. It was so adored that royalty and priests wore its feathers during ceremonies.

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