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Pale Mandible

(Pteroglossus erythropygius)

The Pale Mandible Aracari (Pteroglossus erythropygius) is one of the larger aracaris, and is sometimes classified as a subspecies of the Collared Aracari (P.torquatus) as it is similar in appearance except for the beak and breast. This lively toucanet is found only in the lowlands of northwestern Ecuador, where it is still common.

The Pale Mandibled aracari’s beak is primarily ivory-orange in color with a longitudinal black stripe down the cutting edge of the upper mandible. Like the Collared, it has a black spot in the center of the upper breast, however it has a horizontal black stripe on the lower breast, whereas the Collared has a mostly red stripe.

The Pale Mandibled aracari was at one time the most commonly seen and bred aracari in captivity, and was frequently mislabled the “banded aracari”, a name not valid for any species! Today the Pale Mandibled is restricted to just two collections in the U. S. and they number less than six birds.

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: August 17, 1975; Los Angeles Zoo.