Collared Aracari

The Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus) is a species of toucan that is found from southern Mexico to Panama; also Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. Its breeding habitat is lowland forests and slightly more open woodland.

The adult is about 16.2 inches in length and weighs 8.1 ounces. It has a black head and chest and dark olive-green upperparts. The rump and upper tail is red. There is a reddish collar on the rear neck which give this bird its English and scientific names. The underparts are bright yellow, with a round black spot in the center of the breast and a red-tinged black band across the belly. The thighs are chestnut colored. The facial skin is black, becoming reddish behind the yellow eye. The upper mandible of the bill is dull yellow, marked with a black saw-tooth pattern on the cutting edge, and a black tip. The lower mandible is black. The legs are green.

The young of this species are much duller than the adults. The head is sooty-black and the upperparts are green. The red rump and yellow underparts are paler, and the breast spot, belly band and bill pattern are unclear. The call of the Collared Aracari is a loud, sharp pseek, or peeseek.

The Collared Aracari is found in small flocks of 6 to 15 birds. They move through the forest with a rapid, direct flight. They are arboreal (adapted to tree life) and subsist on a diet mainly of fruit, but will also take insects, lizards, bird eggs, and some other small prey. These birds also roost socially throughout the year, which is unusual for most toucans.

The female lays three white eggs in an unlined natural cavity or old woodpecker nest in a tree high above the ground. Both adults incubate the eggs for about 16 days. The chicks remain in the nest for about 6 weeks before fledging. At birth, the chicks are blind and naked. They are born with short bills and special pads n their heels to protect them from the rough floor of the nest. Both parents partake n feeding the young, and are assisted by up to three other adults, most likely from a previous brood. The parents continue to feed the young for several weeks after they leave the nest.

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