Updated: 07/01/2011 12:47 | By MSN Travel contributors
In pictures: the world's 50 most beautiful things

Most beautiful bird

The rare quetzals are famed for their vivid feathers and tails (© Christer Fredrickson/Lonely Planet)
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  • Stilt bungalows over the still waters of Bora Bora Lagoon (© Jean Bernard Carillet/Lonely Planet)
  • The Regent diamond, famed for the purity of its cut, colour and clarity (© R.M.N.)
  • Alpamayo's graceful peak bathed in sunlight (© Grant Dixon/Lonely Planet)
  • Gustav Klimt's portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (© Neue Galerie, New York)
  • The rare quetzals are famed for their vivid feathers and tails (© Christer Fredrickson/Lonely Planet)
  • The divine Winged Victory stands in the Louvre (© Lonny Kalfus/Getty)
  • Neuschwanstein Castle, Disney's inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty castle (© Christof Stache/Lonely Planet)
Christer Fredrickson/Lonely PlanetShow Thumbnails
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The Resplendent Quetzal is often called the most beautiful bird in the world, and we're not going to argue; the name translates roughly as "large brilliant tail feather" because, during the mating season, the males grow vibrantly coloured twin tail feathers of up to a metre in length. But these rare birds sport iridescent blue, green and red feathers all year round. The quetzal lives in the mountainous, tropical forests of Central America, especially Guatemala and Costa Rica, where they have been revered since Mayan and Aztec times.

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