Toucans have long enchanted bird keepers and “regular people” alike. Having kept several large species in zoos, I can attest that their bright colors and clownish appearances are matched by their behavior. I have seen them toss grapes to one another for no apparent reason (mated pairs and youngsters were not involved) and engage in “beak dueling” bouts with no signs of aggression at all. All were unfailingly curious about me, and soon fed readily from my hand.
Most toucans are too large for home aviaries, but at 12 inches in length, the Collared Aracari has become quite popular and is now bred regularly. It still needs a great deal of room, but keeping a pair is at least feasible for dedicated aviculturists.
Ranging from southern Mexico to northern Columbia and Venezuela, Collared Aracaris feed on an estimated 85-110 species of fruits and berries, as well as insects. Captives require a wide variety of fresh fruits on a daily basis. They should also receive a high quality softbill food such as Pretty Bird Softbill Select and large insects (try Zoo Med’s Can O’ Grasshoppers or Silkworms).
There is some evidence that Collared Aracaris are cooperative breeders – in Panama, up to 6 adults have been observed feeding the brood of 1 pair, and all banded together and chased after a marauding hawk.
Those of you with space and some experience might wish to consider these tropical beauties. I’ll write in detail about the care of small toucans and their relatives in future articles.
You can read more about Collared Aracaris at:
Image referenced from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Pteroglossus-torquatus-001.jpg. Posted by MDF 2/4/2008