Thursday, 10 April 2014

Emerald toucanet

Aulacorhynchus prasinus

Photo by Larry Thompson (Discover Life)

Common name:
emerald toucanet (en); tucaninho-de-nariz-amarelo (pt); toucanet émeraude (fr); tucán esmeralda (es); laucharassari (de)

Order Piciformes
Family Ramphastidae

This species is found from southern Mexico down to north-western Venezuela and Colombia, and south along the Andes to central Bolivia.

These birds are 29-38 cm long and weigh 120-240 g.

The emerald toucanet is mostly found in mountain rainforests and cloud forest, also using forest edges, second growth adjacent to forests, scrublands, plantations, pastures and rural gardens. They are mostly present at altitudes of 900-3.700 m, but can visit lowland areas down to sea level.

They eat a wide variety of fruits as well as terrestrial invertebrates and small vertebrates. Some of the fruits taken include Nectandra spp., Ocotea spp., Phoebe spp., Cestrum spp. and Solanum spp. They hunt a wide range of invertebrates, such as spiders, centipedes, grasshoppers, bugs, beetles, butterflies, flies, and wasps, and also bird nestlings and eggs, small lizards and snakes.

Emerald toucanets breed in January-July. They are monogamous and nest in either a natural tree holes or old woodpecker nests, which is they enlarge in order to get inside. The nest is located 2-30 m above the ground. There the female lays 3-4 white eggs, which are incubated by both parents for about 16 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 42-45 days after hatching.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 50.000-500.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be in decline locally owing to ongoing habitat destruction, particularly due to forest clearance for coffee plantations.

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