The resplendent quetzal is widely considered one of Central America's most stunning bird species. Venerated by the Aztecs and Mayans, whose rulers wore headdresses made out of its long tail feathers, the bird has a bright green body, a red breast, and green upper tail feathers that conceal its tail; in males, these feathers are longer than its body. During mating season, the male grows a streamer tail, a feather train that can be up to three feet long.
Like other bird species, the female's colors, though similar to the male's, are much more muted.
In addition to its primary role in female attraction, the quetzal's bright plumage is believed to serve as camouflage. Its green feathers, which show little iridescence, allow it to blend in with wet vegetation and hide from predators.