Because of their role in elite and ritual costumes, quetzal feathers were an important element in Mesoamerica. The famous headdress called Moctezuma’s crown included 400 hundred quetzal feathers. Other evidence indicates that such headdresses existed and were part of royal or ritual regalia; on the Stone of Tizoc the ruler shown in the battle dress wears a hummingbird helmet with a great quetzal-feather crown.
Anyway, experts aren’t entirely sure that the Moctezuma’s Feather Crown (Copilli Queztalli) did really belong to Moctezuma: the crown of the Aztec ruler (as can be seen in the Codex Mendoza) was a turquoise diadem, not a feather headdress.
This great quetzal crown was found in the 18th. century in a storage chest at Ambras Castle in the Tyrol. The headdress is made primarily of green quetzal and blue cotinga feathers with gold disks. Originally the piece also had 500 quetzal tail-feathers, taken from at least 250 birds; several quetzal feathers were removed and worn by the Archduke of Bavaria and his horse!
By 1566, when the headdress was listed in an inventory of the castle, its Pre-Columbian origin had been lost and it was called “a moorish hat”.