photograph of quetzal bird in ecuador
Golden-headed Quetzal


The Golden-headed Quetzal is similar to other species of quetzal since they all have the same bright green body and wings and a black tail with a white tip. The most obvious difference is they lack a crest of head feathers from other types of quetzals.
It can be found in mid-elevation forests from eastern Panama to northern Bolivia.
During another of our bird watching trips in Ecuador we targeted this bird. We have seen it before but never lucky to get a good photo of this Quetzal. This time we were determined to spend as much time as possible finding the Quetzal on one of our bird photography tours in Ecuador.

Finding the Golden-Headed Quetzal In Ecuador

One of our favorite places to find this bird is in the Mindo Cloud Forest. On day number three of this particular tour, we were having a great morning, spotting many species of Tanagers, Red-headed Barbets, Hummingbirds and Parrots. However, after the birding activities became a bit quiet around eleven in the morning, we were walking back to our vehicle and saw an almost fluorescent green bird flash across the road and went into the nearby bushes. We had no doubt that this was a Golden-headed Quetzal.
After spending another hour searching this area, it was clear that we would not be photographing this bird at this point. We headed back to the town of Mindo and had a magnificent lunch at the Mindo Chocolate Factory before heading back to the trails to search for the Quetzal.
In the latter part of the afternoon and after going through the trails that passes through some cattle farming land, we got lucky. We were able to spend some time observing this Quetzal and take some decent photographs.
If you are visiting the Mindo valley, be sure to put this Golden-headed Quetzal on your list of birds to view and photograph, you will not be disappointed when you find it.