Saffron Toucanet

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Common Name: Saffron Toucanet
Scientific Name: Pteroglossus bailloni

Size: 14-16 inches (35-40 cm)

Habitat: South America. It occurs in south-east Brazil, east Paraguay and north-east Argentina. In Brazil, it is most common in montane regions (up to 1,550 m) of Espírito Santo and Minas Gerais to Rio Grande do Sul, but also occurs in Pernambuco, and has been re-introduced into ex-Guanabara, Rio de Janeiro. It is apparently less common in Argentina and Paraguay, where it is probably most numerous in south-east Paraguay. A recent survey of 24 forest fragments in the states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Mato Grosso do Sul, only found the species in the largest fragment (Paranapiacaba, 1,400 km2). Surveys showed that the encounter rate at this site had declined by 47.5% between 1987-1991 and 1998, but in Argentina it remains locally fairly common in. It is less conspicuous than other toucans in the same region, and may be more easily overlooked.

It occurs in lowland and montane Atlantic forests, generally on slopes and beside streams, and in in Mantiqueira, Brazil it persists in second growth and forest remnants of c.3,000 ha.

Status: Near Threatened. Global Population: Unknown amount of mature individuals. A moderately rapid and on-going population decline is suspected owing to habitat loss, hunting and capture for the cage-bird trade. Montane forests have suffered less destruction than adjacent lowland forest in Brazil, but isolated forests in the north of its range have been reduced by the expansion of pasture and cultivation, and fires spreading from cultivated areas. Cage-bird trade and hunting are apparently minimal in Argentina but it is still hunted in Paraguay.

Diet: Primarily fruits, but also insects and small vertebrates such as frogs and lizards.

Nesting: As suggested by its common name, it is, uniquely among toucans, overall saffron yellow. The back and tail are darker, more olive in color. The rump, ocular skin and patches on the basal half of the otherwise greenish-horn bill are red. The iris is pale yellowish.

They typically nest in trees with appropriate hollows, most of which are previously made by woodpeckers. Other hollows are the result of a branch break and ensuing rotting of the heart wood from rain over a period of time..

Both the male and female share the incubation and chick rearing duties. The eggs are incubated for about 16 days.

The newly hatched chicks are blind and naked with short bills and thick pads on their heels to protect them from the rough floor of the nest. Both parents, as well as their previous offspring and/or possibly other adults, feed the chicks. The young fledge after about 6 weeks. The adults continue to feed them for several weeks after fledging.

Cool Facts: This species' scientific name honors Louis Antoine François Baillon. The appearance of this toucanet is so distinctive that traditionally it was classified in the monotypic genus Baillonius. Recent phylogenetic analyses based on DNA sequence data, however, demonstrate that the Saffron Toucanet is a distinctively-plumaged species of aracari (Pteroglossus), and is most closely related to Green (Pteroglossus viridis) and Lettered aracaris (Pteroglossus inscriptus).

Found in Songbird ReMix Toucans 2

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