Los Quetzales National Park (Costa Rica)

Los Quetzales National Park (Costa Rica)

Sun, 07/28/2019 - 13:32
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Los Quetzales National Park encompasses what was formerly the Los Santos Forest Reserve, stretching across 12,355 acres of both rain forest and cloud forest, encompassing fourteen different ecosystems. The park is named for the colorful Resplendent Quetzal, which is found here.

Los Quetzales National Park

Los Quetzales National Park encompasses what was formerly the Los Santos Forest Reserve, stretching across 12,355 acres (5,000 ha) of both rain forest and cloud forest, encompassing fourteen different ecosystems.

Declared a national park in 2005, Los Quetzales National Park encompasses what was formerly the Los Santos Forest Reserve. It is located within the paramaters of the Savegre Biosphere Reserve.

The elevation of the park is at an altitude of between 1,240-3,190 m (3,190-10,465 ft) along the Talamancan mountain range and protects a crucial habitat for a number of plant and animal species.

The basin of the Savegre River occupies the center of the park. Small streams and waterfalls feed into this river system. The river, critical to those that live here, feeds water into lowland ecosystems as it travels toward the coast and supports agriculture for the entire region.

The park is named for the Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno), which is found here. It is well known for its colorful plumage and is the national bird of Guatemala.

Resplendent quetzals have a green body (showing iridescence from green-gold to blue-violet) and red breast. Depending on the light, quetzal feathers can shine in a variant of colors: green, cobalt, lime, yellow, to ultramarine.

Their green upper tail coverts hide their tails and in breeding males are particularly splendid, being longer than the rest of the body. Though quetzal plumage appears green, they are actually brown due to the melanin pigment.

Other bird species residing within the park include colibri, trogons, tanagers, and hummingbirds. Other wildlife found in the park include Baird's Tapir, deer, and pumas.

Oak and cypress trees grow at the higher altitudes, and significant portions of the park are covered in aguacatillo trees, which are a relative of the avocado and one of the quetzal's favorite foods.

Many tropical flower species and more than 500 kinds of orchids grow here, with many found growing wild on the trunks of giant trees.