What is a Quetzal?
Some of you will know the Quetzal very well but for those who don't, here is a little about this beautiful bird:
(Please note: you can use the language tabs on the left hand side of this Wikipedia link to see an overview in each language)
The Resplendent Quetzal is Guatemala's national bird and a symbol of liberty. An image of the bird is on the Guatemalan flag and it is also the name of the local currency. These vibrantly colored birds live in the mountainous, tropical forests of Central America where they eat fruit, insects, lizards, and other small creatures.
These birds were sacred to the ancient Maya and Aztec peoples who viewed the quetzals as "gods of the air" and symbols of goodness and light.
Quetzals use their powerful beaks to hollow out nests in rotted trees or stumps. Sometimes, quetzals break their silence and make lots of noise; 5 or 6 of them gather together and screech loudly as they fly around the forest.
Unfortunately, these striking birds are endangered with their primary threat being the disappearance of their tropical forest homes.
Here is a link to a video of a male and female Quetzal building their nest if you would like to see them in their natural habitat!
Quetzal and The Little Linguist's Alphabet
Knowing that many of you (like me!) may not have heard of this gorgeous bird before, I asked a number of early childhood educators what they thought about using it on this alphabet. The response was hugely positive as they welcomed an alternative to the usual objects associated with the letter Q. Additionally, it presents an opportunity to encourage geographical awareness. They also felt that young children would be delighted to learn about such a beautiful bird and, as most things are new to children of this age, it would make absolutely no difference whether the bird was well-known or not.
I am so grateful for the existence of the beautiful Quetzal, as, without him, we would not have this alphabet!