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Resplendent Quetzal


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Painted for the Endangered Ark card deck! They will be printed soon and will be for sale in Late April to Early May, 2009. I will post a journal when they are for sale!

Resplendent Quetzal - 10 of hearts

Resplendent Quetzals are amazing birds from the Trogon family that reside only in the cloud forests of Central America. While both males and females sport flashy iridescent green feathers and a brilliant red breast, during breeding season the male Quetzal grows spectacularly long tail and wing coverts. The glittering green tail coverts can grow in excess of thirty inches long.

Quetzals are sacred symbols of the Aztecs and Mayans. The Mesoamerican serpent deity, Quetzalcoatl, sported the feathers of the Quetzal. The ancient belief was that a Quetzal would never survive in captivity, and thus have long since been a symbol for liberty. Due to this belief, ancient cultures would capture a quetzal to pluck its long tail feathers then set it free once again.

These shy birds are today threatened with extinction. The primary threat to Quetzal populations is the extensive destruction of the cloud forests in which it depends on to survive. Conservation efforts have been strained; though there have been National parks dedicated to helping the Quetzal, these birds have altitudinal migration seasonally to find new food sources and most parks have proven too small to aid the Quetzal.

Additionally, warfare and strife in many of the areas where Quetzals are protected has further contributed to decline of these birds. In these areas, conditions are dire for the human inhabitants and so little effort is placed in conservation movements. Captive breeding efforts have been mostly unsuccessful and indeed most captive quetzals do not seem to enjoy long lifespans.

Despite being a sacred symbol to several cultures these beautiful birds may not endure much longer unless there are drastic changes made to save their habitat and to discourage poaching.

Painted in Corel Painter. Thanks again to those that watched me paint this live.
Copyright © 2009 Jennifer Miller; All Rights Reserved. Use without permission is prohibited.
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