Chestnut-eared aracari, Pantanal region, Brazil
© Ana Gram/Shutterstoc
Today we're in the Pantanal in Brazil to visit this member of the toucan family named for the brownish plumage around its ears. But if you’re unfamiliar with the chestnut-eared aracari, don’t be mistaken in thinking they are less colourful than their toucan cousins - they have long, colourful bills, a red and yellow belly and a distinctive blue patch around their eyes. These attractive birds mate for life, laying eggs in the same nest year after year. Different from other toucans, aracaris are much more social nesters: Up to six aracari adults and all their babies might live in one nest.
Toucans are found in tropical climates in Central and South America, mainly rainforests (our chestnut-eared friend tends to be found in the Amazon basin and throughout Bolivia). Known frugivores, or fruit eaters, toucans have also been spotted eating the occasional lizard or even rival bird. They tend to be friendly with humans and have been successfully kept as pets –but probably prefer life in the wild.