Thursday, 18 December 2014

Saffron toucanet

Pteroglossus bailloni

Photo by Celi de Medeiros (Flickr)

Common name:
saffron toucanet (en); araçari-banana (pt); toucan de Baillon (fr); tucán banana (es); goldtukan (de)

Order Piciformes
Family Ramphastidae

This species is found in south-eastern Brazil, from southern Bahia, through eastern Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro, and into São Paulo, Paraná and northern Rio Grande do Sul, and also across the border into eastern Paraguay and extreme north-eastern Argentina.

These birds are 35-40 cm long and weigh 130-170 g.

The saffron toucanet is found in moist subtropical forests, particularly Atlantic forests on slopes and beside streams, also using forest edges and second growths. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.550 m.

They forage on the forests canopy, in pairs or small groups, mainly taking fruits such as
Cecropia, Ficus, Euterpe, Eugenia uniflora and Melia azedarach, which are supplemented with insects during the breeding season. Occasionally, may also hunt fledglings of smaller bird species, such as woodpeckers.

Saffron toucanets breed in December-July. They are possibly monogamous, with both sexes excavating out an old woodpecker nest where the female lays 2-4 white eggs. The eggs are incubated by both parents for 16 days and the chicks fledge 40-42 days after hatching.

IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as fairly common. However, a moderately rapid and on-going population decline is suspected owing to habitat loss, hunting and capture for the cage bird trade. Mountain forests have suffered less destruction than adjacent lowland forest in Brazil, but isolated forests in the north of its range have been reduced by the expansion of pasture and cultivation, and fires spreading from cultivated areas. Cage bird trade and hunting are apparently minimal in Argentina, but the saffron toucanet is still hunted in Paraguay.

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