Toucans and Aracaris

There are so many beautiful birds in Costa Rica… and the one most associated with the tropics is the exotic toucan, otherwise known as the “Fruit Loops Bird”!  There are 6 different species in Costa Rica and all of them are flashy and colorful and magnificent!  Two of them we hear and see all the time – the Chestnut Mandibled Toucan and the Keel Billed Toucan. You can easily hear their strong, loud, high-pitched chirp and if you see one you’re likely to see two.  Their large beaks enable them to delicately pick berries off thin branches and stems or bury their beaks into a woodpecker hole in a tree. They eat berries and fruit but, unfortunately, they also like to steal birds’ eggs and even feast on the new nestlings.

The other morning I recognized the toucan chirp and noticed a beautiful large bird having a breakfast of red berries in one of the palm trees off our patio.  I walked very slowly toward him and was amazed to get the video below.  I think he was so focused on enjoying his meal he didn’t care if I watched :)

In addition to these toucans, we very often see two other different species of toucans called Aracaris – the Collared Aracari and the Fiery Billed Aracari.  These birds are a bit smaller than the other toucans but even more colorful.

We see these aracaris all the time as well, usually hanging out in groups of 5 to 15 at a time and known for their “kinship behavior”.  They seem to enjoy doing everything in groups, even cooperative care for the offspring by both parents and non-parents.  Unlike the larger toucans mentioned above, they are rarely aggressive.  I love these birds… there is a sweet gentle sense being around them, and they usually don’t mind you being near watching them enjoy berries and their favorite bananas.  Hardly a day goes by when we don’t have a visit by one of these beautiful birds… and I always drop whatever I’m doing to enjoy the momentary gift :)

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