Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan

Chestnut-mandibled Toucans often descended on the Laguna del Lagarto Lodge’s bird feeders during our two-day stay in July 2017. The toucans ate fruit and, perhaps, fruit-eating insects. In the forest, toucans eat fruit, insects, lizards and frogs. They also use their huge bills to plunder eggs from long, hanging bird nests. As you cann see in the first photo, toucan bills can be dextrous tools.

This was not our first encounter with Chestnut-mandibled Toucans. We often saw and heard them in many locations in Costa Rica. Their call is described by Rice et. al (2010) as “yelping, far-carrying cry…Dios te De,” God Gives You. These crow-sized birds travel through forests in flocks of up to a dozen birds.

Chestnut-mandibled Toucans breed from Honduras south through western Ecuador. Similar birds, Black-mandibled Toucans, range from western Venezuela south through Peru. Ornithologists are still studying if these populations are one species or two.  If the populations are genetically similar, then the two go by the inclusive name of Yellow-throated Toucan.

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