Friday, January 22, 2010

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan

The largest of the toucans to be found in Costa Rica, I loved seeing these guys every time, without getting bored. Who could with such interesting features? They were tough to find, but we managed to almost every day. Interestingly, their call is very muted, so we solely relied on sight to spot them.





Interestingly, the toucan eats fruits and berries just like Toucan Sam of Fruit Loops cereal fame, but will steal eggs and nestlings from the nests of the endangered Scarlet Macaw!



Their long bill allows them to perch on heavier, stable branches and reach a distance for hanging fruits. They snip the fruit off, hold it at the tip of the bill, and then, with a forward flip of the head, toss the fruit into the air and into their throats.



Small fruit seeds pass unharmed through toucan digestive tracts and large seeds are regurgitated, also unharmed. Thus, these frugivores aid in the dispersal of tree seeds, and, together with other fruit-eaters, are responsible for the positions of some forest trees.



This last one is a Fiery-billed Aracari. It is much smaller than the toucan and has a serrated bill. He was a very cool bird to see with it's awesome colors! We didn't have the pleasure of seeing this guy but twice, and was very lucky to get the photos we did, as they scare very easily, and are spotted high up in the canopy in most cases.
I was thrilled with the luck we did have!



Click on photos to see better detail!

6 comments:

Eve said...

I love your individual posts on the creatures of Costa Rica Hannibal!! They is fantastic and your photos are spectacular!
I think so far this Toucan is my favorite!! Wow a beautiful bird and wonderful photos!! Whoo hooo, more please!!

TSannie said...

Wonderful photos!

sweet bay said...

Magnificent photos.

Chris said...

Simply fantastic... His bill is gorgeous and he is so colorful!!!! Pff that's probably a very impressive bird to meet!

Coy said...

Beautiful shots Hannibal! The bills on these birds are simply amazing,

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