Fiery-billed Aracari, Pteroglossus frantzii

The Fiery-billed Aracari (Pteroglossus frantzii) is a species of toucan that is found on the Pacific slopes of southern Costa Rica and western Panama. Its binomial name commemorates the German naturalist Alexander von Frantzius. Its habitat is lowland forests and clearings.

The Fiery-billed Aracari has bright markings and a large bill, like other toucans. The adult is about 17 inches long and weighs 8.8 ounces. Sexes are similar in appearance. The head and chest are black and the upperparts are dark olive-green. The rump and undertail are reddish. The collar on the rear of the neck is also reddish. The underparts are bright yellow. There is a round black spot in the center of the breast and red band appears across the belly. The thighs are chestnut colored. There is a bare black facial skin. The upper mandible of the bill is bright orange. The lower mandible is black. The legs are green. The young are duller in color, with a dirty-black head and brown-green upperparts. The breast spot and belly band are unnoticeable in juveniles. The call is a loud, sharp pseek or keeseek.

This species is mostly a fruit-eater, but will also eat insects, lizards, bird eggs, and other small prey. They are seen in small flocks of up to 10 birds. They have a rapid and direct flight pattern. They nest 20 – 100 feet high in a tree. The female lays two white eggs that are incubated for 16 days by both parents. The chicks are blind and naked when hatched. Both parents feed the young, which leave the nest after about 6 weeks. The adults feed the young chicks for another several weeks after they leave the nest. The Aracaris roost socially throughout the year, which is unusual among toucans.

Image Caption: Fiery-billed Aracari in Alajuela, Costa Rica. Credit: Alison Le Garec/Wikipedia (CC Attribution 3.0)