Home | Bird Species Profiles | Introducing a “Mini Toucan” – the Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus)

Introducing a “Mini Toucan” – the Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus)

Collared AracariToucans 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

About Frank Indiviglio

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I believe that I was born with an intense interest in animals, as neither I nor any of my family can recall a time when I was not fascinated by creatures large and small. One might imagine this to be an unfortunate set of circumstances for a person born and raised in the Bronx, but, in actuality, quite the opposite was true. Most importantly, my family encouraged both my interest and the extensive menagerie that sprung from it. My mother and grandmother somehow found ways to cope with the skunks, flying squirrels, octopus, caimans and countless other odd creatures that routinely arrived un-announced at our front door. Assisting in hand-feeding hatchling praying mantises and in eradicating hoards of mosquitoes (I once thought I had discovered “fresh-water brine shrimp” and stocked my tanks with thousands of mosquito larvae!) became second nature to them. My mother went on to become a serious naturalist, and has helped thousands learn about wildlife in her 16 years as a volunteer at the Bronx Zoo. My grandfather actively conspired in my zoo-buildings efforts, regularly appearing with chipmunks, boa constrictors, turtles rescued from the Fulton Fish Market and, especially, unusual marine creatures. It was his passion for seahorses that led me to write a book about them years later. Thank you very much, for a complete biography of my experience click here.
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