Pavonine Quetzal (Pharomachrus pavoninus)

Pavonine Quetzal

[order] TROGONIFORMES | [family] Trogonidae | [latin] Pharomachrus pavoninus | [authority] Spix, 1824 | [UK] Pavonine Quetzal | [FR] Quetzal pavonin | [DE] Pfauentrogon | [ES] Quetzal Pavonino | [NL] Pauwquetzal


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Pharomachrus pavoninus SA Amazonia


Quetzals are strikingly colored birds in the trogon family (Trogonidae). They are found in forests and woodlands, especially in humid highlands, with the five species from the genus Pharomachrus being exclusively Neotropical, while the single Euptilotis species is almost entirely restricted to western Mexico (marginally also in adjacent U.S. states). A striking aspect of this genus is their iridescent coloration. In the genus Pharomachrus the melanin is organized in platelets, while in Apaloderma, Galbula, Harpactes, and Trogon the granules are round and hollow. The granules are of a different pattern which constitutes the Quetzal’s beautiful colors.

Physical charateristics

Metallic green overall with a red belly, the Pavonine Quetzal can be visually separated from other similar species by its reddish bill. Males are green-headed with black undertails, while females have grayish heads with a gray breast band and white barring on the outer tail feathers.

Listen to the sound of Pavonine Quetzal

[audio: Quetzal.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 33 cm size max.: 34 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
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broods: 0   eggs min.: 0  
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South America : Amazonia. It is found in terra firme forest at low elevation in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil and is replaced by other similar species of quetzal further west in the Andes.


This uncommon bird inhabits the interior of terra firme rain forests.


Builds nest in cavity of rotten stump or snag, few meters up. No further data.

Feeding habits

Probably fruit, not much known. Sometimes seen in mixed species flocks.

Video Pavonine Quetzal


copyright: Will Carter


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
It lives alone and is usually observed near fruit trees
Pavonine Quetzal status Least Concern


Presumed sedentary, but less than other trogons. Groups may stray through landscapes.

Distribution map

Pavonine Quetzal distribution range map

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