Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pale-billed Mountain Toucan

Andigena laminirostris
The Andes mountains of South America are where you'll find the Pale-billed Mountain Toucan. They live in the humid forests that sit just under 10,000ft.

You'll identify these birds by all their various color patches. They have blue chests, chestnut wings, splashes of red and yellow near the tail, and ivory, black, yellow, green, and red on the face and bill. They are similar in look to the other species of Mountain Toucan (all of which have a Andean range), but each of the birds differs in the face and bill.

As with all Toucans, the Pale-billed Mountain Toucan is a frugivore, and is a vital spreader of seeds for their habitat. They eat as many as 100 different kinds of fruit (I didn't even know there were that many fruits growing in one place!), and either digest or regurgitate the seeds. This diet even plays into their courting rituals-- males will feed fruit to the females to gain favor.

Pale-billed Mountain Toucans will form monogamous pairs once they reach sexual maturity at age 3. The couple will often take over the nest of another bird and line it with sticks and regurgitated materials. Both the mother and father incubate and care for the chicks.

Sadly, the species is on the decline and is listed as Near Threatened. Habitat loss from logging, human settlement, and agriculture plays a big part in this. The birds do live within nature reserves, more more conservation action is needed outside of those areas.

IUCN Status : Near Threatened
Location : South America
Size : Length up to 21in (53cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Piciformes
Family : Ramphastidae -- Genus : Andigena -- Species : A. laminirostris

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