The resplendent quetzal is among the world’s most beautiful birds. Their vibrant colored plumage, and the bird’s proud cultural ties to the Central Americas they call homehelp make the Quetzal a popular tattoo design.
Quetzals live in the mountainous, tropical forests where they eat fruit, insects, lizards, and other small creatures. Unfortunately, Quetzals are often hunted for their beautiful feathers or for sale to illegal collectors, and their numbers are dropping significantly in the wild despite not being under immediate threat.
The quetzal is a popular choice in Aztec tattoo design popular with the Latinx community, while bird lovers and tattoo enthusiasts who enjoy the bright and beautiful often get realistic tattoos of the vividly colored, long feathered bird.
Read on for 83 of the best Quetzal tattoo design ideas, while towards the end of the gallery you’ll find a useful FAQ to help you with your next tattoo choice.
1. Upper Arm Quetzal Tattoos
2. Aztec and Black Ink Inspiration
3. Quetzel Chest, Back and Side Tattoo Design
4. Black and Gray Quetzal Body Art
5. Quetzal in Flight Tattoo Ideas
6. Forearm Quetzal Tattoos
7. Quetzal Leg Ink
8. Uniquely Placed Quetzal Tattoos
9. Realistic Quetzal Body Art
10. Small Bird Tattoo Ideas
11. Quetzal Thigh Tattoo Inspiration
12. Floral Quetzal Designs
13. Innovative Color Quetzals
14. Quetzal Watercolor Tattoo Ideas
Quetzal Tattoo FAQs
What does a Quetzal Tattoo Symbolize?
The resplendent quetzal is among the world’s most beautiful. It’s a popular animal motif for people with strong ties to the Aztecs and Central Americas. Much like the jaguar the quetzal is a great source of pride and history.
The quetzal is also a great tattoo choice for body art and bird lovers of great beauty. The bird has beautifully bright, striking plumage, luminous eyes, and gorgeous tail feathers.
These standout physical characteristics can be magnificently incorporated into flowing, full colored realist tattoos or utilized in more abstract and culturally symbolic design ideas.
What type of Quetzal Tattoo should I get?
Quetzal tattoos come in many styles, however it’s luminous plumage of many bright hues and fantastic tail feathers are often deployed in realistic, full colored tattoo designs.
Other popular styles that use the Quetzal effectively include:
- Watercolor bird tattoo designs
- Aztec themed tattoos
- Striking black ink, heavily outlined tattoos
- Subdued, traditionally shaded black and gray
- Ostentatious and brightly colored neo traditional styled body art
- Small, detailed single needle designs
Why are Quetzal tattoos so popular in Latin America?
The quetzal is a truly beautiful bird and a source of much pride to the Latin American nations it calls home. The resplendent quetzal is the national bird of Guatemala – while the country’ currency is also named the Quetzal.
Other breeds of the bird stretch down into Venezuela and Colombia, and north into the mountains of Mexico. In the past, the Quetzal was an important animal motif for Aztec and Mayan peoples, where it was known as “the God of the Air.”
Where should I place my Quetzal ink?
The Quetzal is such a striking bird that it suits almost any range of sizes and body placements, however if you can incorporate the illusion of movement or the flowing tail feather strongly into the design it looks magnificent when a talented tattoo artist lays down the design.
The most popular placements for Quetzal ink include:
- The thigh. Great space for larger designs
- The inner forearm. Versatile for large or small designs, and a good spot to show off your art
- The ribs. A great chance to scale and shape your bird tattoo however you like
- The shoulder and back. Another popular area for flowing art or large pieces
Also, if you aren’t sure about size and placement of your next tattoo, a good strategy to employ is a short-term temporary tattoo. A temporary tattoo works exceptionally to answer questions you may have about the size, placement, and overall visibility for future permanent tattoo art.
Did you enjoy these beautiful Quetzal tattoo design ideas? For more Central American inspired tattoo art and bird tattoo ideas, click on the links below: