Quetzal Tattoo Meaning, Design & Ideas

If you were thinking of getting a tattoo of a bird, there aren’t very many that are more stunning than the resplendent quetzal. The colors alone are beautiful enough to make you want to get a tattoo of this bird but then you add the jarring long tails of this bird and you have got yourself a one-of-a-kind bird.

It’s no surprise that so many people want to get this bird tattooed on their bodies. In addition to its beauty, the meaning behind this bird is also unique. It’s such a unique bird that Guatemala named it the national bird of their country and their currency is named after it.

In this post, we are going to talk about the resplendent quetzal and the meaning behind the quetzal tattoo. Not only will your quetzal tattoo draw the attention of onlookers because of its jarring color scheme and unique look, but you will keep their attention when they learn of what this bird symbolizes. We hope that by the end of this post, you will have a better understanding of the resplendent quetzal and start to understand why this bird is such a popular subject to be tattooed.

What is the Quetzal

Native to areas such as Mexico and western Panama, the resplendent quetzal is known for its vibrant colors and long plumage.

The quetzal ranges from about 36 to 40 cm long and up to 65 cm when the male is in mating season and grows its long tail. There are some subspecies that are a bit smaller with less of a tail.

The quetzal has a red breast and green body. The green upper part of the tail covertly hides their tails. In mating season, the male quetzal grows his splendid tail which is usually longer than the rest of his body. The wings of the quetzal are usually quite long and have an appearance of being fringed. The bill is yellow for mature males while it is black for females.

In order to protect itself from being cut, the quetzal has an unusual amount of feathers as their skin is very thin. Also, like the trogon family members, the quetzal has large eyes and easily adapts to changes in lighting.

Their relationship with humans is an interesting one. As we stated previously, the quetzal is the national bird of Guatemala and it’s even the name of their currency. However, they are often captured for captivity or even killed. The main problem for these beautiful birds is their loss of habitat. Luckily, there are places where their habitat is preserved like in the cloud forests of Costa Rica.

Quetzal Tattoo Symbolism

The quetzal is a historical symbol of freedom and liberty. The ancient Maya revered this bird and said it could never survive in captivity. This is why they would never keep a quetzal. It is said the bird would rather kill itself than be kept in captivity. The Maya people would often capture a quetzal pluck a feather and release the bird back into the wild. They would never keep it or kill it as it was forbidden in the Maya culture.

This means when someone gets the quetzal tattoo, one reason could be for its symbolism of freedom. This tattoo is a constant reminder to never let yourself be confined in any way whether it be physically or mentally. Society has a way to hinder free thinkers. Society wants you to follow the leader and go by the rules. However, the owner of the quetzal tattoo is the type of person who can’t be held down and values their liberty.

Another reason to get the quetzal tattoo is if you are simply a fan of beautiful things. The quetzal is known as one of the most beautiful birds on the planet. Their color pattern and long tails are unique to the avian world and it makes these birds stand out amongst others.

It is known that the main meaning of the quetzal tattoo is liberty. So, keep this in mind when getting this tattoo because if you aren’t a fan of freedom, this tattoo may not be for you.

Quetzal Tattoo Variations

The quetzal is a very unique bird and to truly get the most out of your quetzal tattoo, it should most likely be done in color. There are other ways this tattoo can be done but the identified features of this bird happen to be its colors and the tail of the male quetzal. Below are a couple of variations of the quetzal tattoo that we have seen. We hope it gives you some options when you go in to get your quetzal tattoo.

Watercolor Quetzal Tattoo

The watercolor quetzal tattoo is a popular way to have this inked. The flow of colors and the whimsical way the colors meld fit perfectly with this beautiful bird. Watercolor tattoos are unique and must be handled by a tattoo artist who has experience in this style of tattooing if you want the best out of it. The watercolor style and quetzal image go well together so think about this style when getting the tattoo.

Traditional Quetzal Tattoo

Birds are well-liked when it comes to traditional style tattooing. There are many bird images that happen to fit the vibe of the traditional Sailor Jerry style as well. The quetzal tattoo fits right into this category as its tail is very recognizable and can be used to flow into other tattoos. The nice thing about the quetzal tattoo is the length of the tail can be manipulated for the tattoo to fit most body placements.

The quetzal tattoo is a unique one and you will know it when you see it. When getting this tattoo, make sure to look at the artist’s portfolio to make sure they have experience in this type of tattooing. The last thing you want is to get in there and be unhappy with the final product. If you need help finding an artist to complete your tattoo vision, let us know because we’d be happy to help.

Leave a Comment