Emerald Toucanet, in the Wild

It’s not everyday that you can watch an Emerald Toucanet, or aulacorhynchus prasinus, having breakfast while enjoying your first cup of morning coffee. At least not for me.

Which made spotting, watching and photographing this one the highlight of a two-day stay at the Toucanet Lodge in the mountains near Copey de Dota, Costa Rica a few years back.

Besides his willingness to perch still and pose for a bit, I loved how well he blended into his surroundings. And that he enjoyed hanging out in this tree just behind the lodge’s main building, perhaps some 20 feet from where I sat sipping my fine local java.

Measuring 30-35cm (12-14in) Emerald Toucanets aren’t as large as toucans, and their bills are significantly shorter, but they’re no less stunning to watch. They can be found in mountainous regions from Mexico, through Central America, to northern Venezuela and along the Andes as far south as Central Bolivia.

As a point of comparison, here’s a Yellow-Throated Toucan (Ramphastos ambiguus), spotted near Mindo, Ecuador. It was the first toucan I ever spotted in the wild. Hopefully these two won’t be the last.

I’m currently prepping for another trip to the Equator, but this time to Uganda in east Central Africa, which brought this pair to mind.  There won’t be any toucans there but I’m betting on seeing plenty of other colorful distant cousins. Fingers crossed.


Yellow-Throated Toucan (Ramphastos ambiguus) in Mindo, Ecuador
Yellow-Throated Toucan (Ramphastos ambiguus)


For the record, today’s Pic du Jour, the site’s 1,161st, was snapped in Copey de Dota, Costa Rica, in June 2013.




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