Crested Quetzal Pharomachrus antisianus

  • © Juan Carlos Vindas

This close relative of the Resplendant Quetzal of Central America is uncommon and sometimes local, ranging from Colombia and Venezuela, south along the spine of the Andes into Bolivia. A premontane species, the Crested Quetzal is found in pristine cloud forest and mature second-growth forests in the upper tropical and temperate zones, from 1,200 to 3,000m. It is generally found at lower elevations than the Golden-headed Quetzal. Males are bright, metallic green overall, with a scarlet belly and vent with a clean white undertail, and have a short bushy crest over a yellow bill. Females are similar, but lack their dusky brown heads lack the bushy crests, and only the lower belly is red, with a brown upper belly and some green in the breast. The undertails of females are mostly dark brown with some white barring in the outer webbing. Both sexes have long, plume-like wing and tail coverts that hide the dark remiges and central tail feathers when perched. Juveniles are dark overall with buffy markings throughout and a tawny belly. Males are distinguished from Golden-headed by the all white undertail, while females show less distinct white tips in the rectrices, and less green in the breast than female Golden-headed. They perch solely and quietly in the dense canopies of fruiting trees, plucking fruits in fluttering swoops and often returning to the same perch.

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© Paul A. Schwartz

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Crested Quetzal (Pharomachrus antisianus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: