Communities in Mexico and Central America used quetzal (KET-sahl) tail feathers to pay taxes to Aztec rulers. The feathers were also made into headdresses and clothing for royalty and religious leaders. To get the feathers, people caught the quetzal and pulled out its tail feathers. But they let it fly away, and the quetzal’s tail feathers grew back. The longest tail feather of this male quetzal bird is 21 inches long.
The quetzal has been the name of Guatemala’s currency since 1925.
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