NFSS | National Finch & Softbill Society 501(3)(C)
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Ivory Billed

(Pteroglossus azara)

The Ivory Billed Aracari (Pteroglossus azara) is one of the smallest members of the family Ramphastidae with an average weight of 150 grams. It is a wide ranging species found in the lowlands of southern Venezuela and northern Brazil at elevations of 300 meters and west into the lower elevations of the Andes to 1,200 meters from Colombia south through Ecuador and Peru to Bolivia and eastward into western and central Brazil.

Ivory Bills are extremely rare in captivity and are currently found in only one U.S. facility, the Dallas World Aquarium. They will be at Emerald Forest Bird Gardens in April 2004.

The Ivory Bill consists of three subspecies (P. a. azara, P. a. flavirostris, P. a. mariae), of which P.a. mariae is depicted here. The Ivory Bill is one of the few dimorphic species of toucans. The males have a black crown, whereas the females have a brown crown. They are otherwise identical except males tend to have longer beaks.

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.