The Green Aracari (Pteroglossus viridis) is the smallest of the toucans weighing in at only 125 grams. Its overall length is only ten inches and its beak is only two and a half inches long.
The Green Aracari is one of the few species of toucans that are dimorphic. The female has a chestnut brown head and neck, whereas the male has a black head and neck. They are otherwise identical. The Green Aracari is found in northern South America in the countries of Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, and Surinam, where it is quite common.
Green Aracari (Pteroglossus viridis) – photo by Harry Bryant
The Green Aracari is the most successful breeder of all the toucan species in captivity. It is the subject of a studbook in the zoo community (Association of Zoos and Aquariums, aka AZA) and is commonly seen on display. It has also been the most successful in private apiculture and is readily available.
The Green Aracari is a very friendly, affectionate species that qualifies it as an excellent pet. It is recommended as the place to start with toucans, for it will not only delight the breeder with its willingness to breed, but enchant the pet owner, as well.
Aviculture: Outdoor flights should be at least 4′ x 8′ x 4′ for aracaris (Even larger flights should be used if possible!).
Aracaris are quite docile compared to the larger toucans, and can more readily be housed with small birds in a planted aviary, though again not with finch sized birds.
Aracaris are frugivorous birds, whose primary diet is fruit. In the wild they consume fruits from as many as 100 species of plants and trees. They also consume a variety of insects for protein, especially during their nesting cycle.
They MUST be fed FRESH fruit every day! The fruit diet should also be supplemented with a low iron protein source (such as Mazuri Low Iron Softbill diet by Purina Mills).
Toucans are not as difficult to breed as often thought and must be housed alone in pairs, preferably following the size enclosures mentioned above under housing. While they will breed in boxes, with a concave bottom, they are far more likely to breed if they are provided with a “natural” nest, constructed from a palm tree log. Logs allow these birds to continually dig their nest chamber deeper, which helps them cement the pair bond.
First captive breeding: May 30, 1990; Jerry Jennings.
CITES status: Appendix II.
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