Guatemalan Folklore: The Origin of the Quetzal’s Red Belly

The Resplendent Quetzal is the national bird of Guatemala, found in its flag, coat of arms and currency.

Legend has it that when the Spanish Conquistador’s invaded Guatemala, the warrior leader of the Maya Quiche, Tecun Uman, faced Pedro de Alvarado of Spain. As the battle went on, a quetzal flew alongside Tecun Uman as his spirit guide. He initially claimed victory after knocking down Alvardo’s horse, but was then suddenly hit by Alvarado’s spear.

Some say that ever since the conquest of the Mayan groups by the Spanish, the quetzal has stopped singing its melodious voice.

As the warrior lay dying, the quetzal flew down and landed on the warrior, dipping its chest in the warrior’s blood. This is how the Quetzal earned its distinctive red chest.

Some say that ever since the conquest of the Mayan people by the Spanish, the quetzal has stopped singing its melodious voice. This vote of silence will only end after the lands are free again.