Fiery-billed aracari

Vulnerable to threats as it has a very limited and narrowing range from Costa Rica to Panama

Francesco Veronesi

Found in southern Central America, including regions of Costa Rica and Panama, this stunning toucan species is known for its distinctive and eye-catching colored bill, which sets it apart from its relatives in the toucan family. One of the most striking characteristics of the fiery-billed aracari is the fiery-red band that adorns its breast, adding to its overall vibrant appearance.

Despite its limited range, the fiery-billed aracari thrives in a variety of habitats, including wet woodlands, forest edges, and even cleared areas where it can find suitable food sources. Like other members of its genus, the fiery-billed aracari is primarily frugivorous, meaning that fruits make up the bulk of its diet. It is often observed foraging in pairs or small groups of up to ten individuals, making use of its keen eyesight and agile movements to locate and consume a variety of fruits. Some of its favorite fruit sources include those from Ficus, Cecropia, and Dipterodendron trees within the forest, as well as cultivated fruits like bananas and papayas found in agricultural areas. In addition to fruits, the fiery-billed aracari may also supplement its diet with insects and the eggs of doves and woodpeckers, showcasing its versatility as an omnivorous feeder.

During the breeding season, fiery-billed aracaris exhibit interesting nesting behaviors. They typically utilize old woodpecker nests as nesting sites, demonstrating a clever adaptation that allows them to conserve energy and resources by repurposing existing structures. Alternatively, they may also engage in nest “hijacking,” where they forcibly take over woodpecker nests for their own use. Once the eggs are laid, they are incubated either by the parent or sometimes by cooperative helpers, showcasing a fascinating cooperative breeding strategy within the species. After hatching, both parents and helpers contribute to feeding and caring for the nestlings, ensuring their survival and growth until they are ready to fledge.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Costa Rica
LC
2021
Panama
LC
2021

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd / Flock

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No