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Chestnut Eared

(Pteroglossus castanotis)

The Chestnut Eared Aracari (Pteroglossus castanotis) has the widest distribution of any aracari species and is one of the most common of the toucans. It is a lowland species found throughout western Brazil north to eastern Colombia and south through eastern Peru, northern and eastern Bolivia and northern Argentina.

The Chestnut-Eared Aracari is similar in appearance to the Black Neck, except it is larger and more colorful. The Chestnut Eared has a dark brown beak with a yellow-orange stripe longitudinally along the bottom of the upper mandible. The iris is white (sometimes yellow), and the eyeskin varies from dark turquoise to gray. The head is black but the throat and ears are chestnut brown. Where the Black Neck has an olive thigh, the Chestnut has brown.

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.

All Ramphastids lay pure white, elliptical shaped eggs, usually 3-4 per clutch. Incubation for all species lasts 16 days, and young fledge the nest at 40-42 days.

First captive breeding: May 27, 1983; Rod Barth.