Yellow-throated Toucan (Ramphastos ambiguus)

The Yellow-throated Toucan is the bird most people think of when we say toucan. It is one of the species that appears on books and tourism guides, the other one being the Keel-billed Toucan, which is smaller. I had heard the calls of these birds, but I did not know it was this toucan until I got close enough to see the birds.

All Toucans have a feature in common: While they like to eat fruit and small amphibians, they also predate nests, either for eggs or hatchlings. Most other bird species in Costa Rica are fearful of any kind of toucan, and some of them react violently to their presence, in an effort to steer them away from their nests. Only big predator birds (like the Crested Hawk-Eagle) are known to predate on them.

I saw this bird on a Birdwatching tour with Fundación Rapaces de Costa Rica, on November 25th, 2017. We could observe an interesting behavior: Tanagers, Orioles and Honeycreepers were feeding peacefully on the feeder, but whenever a Toucan closed in, all the other birds flew away and stayed in a nearby tree, calling and calling loudly. As soon as the Toucan left, all birds returned to the feeder in frenetic mode, like food was going to end soon.

When the biggest toucan in Costa Rica makes its appearance, all other birds flee. Their fear is well-founded: Toucans eat eggs and chicks from other bird species. It is better not to be near one of them.
Black-mandibled Toucan - Ramphastos ambiguus - Tucán Garganta Amarilla (1)
This is the largest toucan that inhabits Costa Rica, pretty similar to the Keel-billed Toucan, but bigger.

2 thoughts on “Yellow-throated Toucan (Ramphastos ambiguus)

  1. Pingback: La Fortuna, San Carlos | Chris Photography

  2. Pingback: Braulio Carrillo, Quebrada Gonzalez | Chris Photography

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