Is 2017 the year of the toucan? Rockjumper’s strong suite of Brazil offerings could yield a toucan or two for you.
Few birds on Earth are as recognizable as a toucan. With absurd, colorful bills, striking plumage, and herky-jerky antics, they are forever a subject of curiosity and amusement. The toucan family, Ramphastidae, contains no less than 40 species, all found within the new world tropics. And while their big, bright bills may seem funny to us, this is their best tool in thermo-regulation. Especially in larger species, the bill may represent ⅓ or even ½ of the bird’s surface area. Sort of like the ears of an elephant, regulating the blood flow of the bill allows a toucan to conserve or reduce its body heat, depending on the conditions.
The only really yellow member of the family is the bird pictured here, the eye-catching Saffron Toucanet. Endemic to the Atlantic Forest of south-east Brazil, adjacent Paraguay, and extreme north-east Argentina, this treasure of a bird was once the sole representative of the genus Baillonius. Recent research has shown it is actually an Aracari (Pteroglossus), but at times it has been known as the Banana Toucan or Baillon’s Toucan. And its species name (bailloni) still honors French naturalist, Louis Antoine François Baillon (also honored in the names of the Baillon’s Crake and the Baillon’s Shearwater).
As cavity-nesters, Saffron Toucanets use old woodpecker holes to raise young and for roosting, too. They feed mostly on fruit, but sometimes take nestlings and eggs of other birds. This gawky, alluring Ramphastid is a key feature on our South Eastern Brazil – Atlantic Forest Endemics (27 Oct – 10 Nov) and our upcoming Brazil – Atlantic Coastal Forest II (05 -12 Oct) tours. Both also offer an astonishing number of endemics that include the special Slaty Bristlefront, Black-and-gold Cotinga, Buff-throated Purpletuft, a veritable feast of endemic tanagers – such as Brazilian, Gilt-edged, Brassy-breasted, Red-necked, Azure-shouldered, Golden-chevroned and Green-headed – Spotted Bamboowren, Three-toed Jacamar, Pin-tailed Manakin and lots more.
If you like toucans, then our Brazil: Manaus & Rio Negro (01 – 17 Sep) is right in your wheelhouse. Amazonia is the center of abundance for toucan species, and on this trip, we celebrate the mighty Amazon River, with chances at Curl-crested, Lettered, Ivory-billed and Red-necked Aracaris, and Golden-collared, Gould’s and Guianan Toucanets. For the intrepid seeking a real avian adventure, our Brazil – North Eastern Mega Birding Tour (21 Sep – 12 Oct) also offers up good chances for many toucan species, including Gould’s and the near-endemic Spot-billed Toucanet. North-east Brazil is also home to an extraordinary number of endemics and our route gives us chances for over 100 of these! Many are unfortunately highly threatened, but we stand excellent chances of finding Lear’s Macaw, Jandaya, Grey-breasted and Caatinga Parakeets, Araripe and Eastern Striped Manakins, Seven-coloured, Rufous-headed and Scarlet-throated Tanagers, Banded and White-winged Cotingas, an incredible 23 endemic antbirds, Hooded Visorbearer and many more.
And finally, tried and true, forever among our most popular trips, Brazil – Birds & Wildlife of the Pantanal & Cerrado is set for 10 – 19 Jul and for 03 – 12 Sep this year, offering you chances at the world’s largest toucan, the Toco Toucan, and the striking Chestnut-eared Aracari. We also have great chances of finding Jaguar, Giant Anteater, Brazilian Tapir, Maned Wolf and birds such as Mato Grosso Antbird, Hyacinth Macaw, Sunbittern, Sungrebe, Yellow-faced Parrot, Horned Sungem, Helmeted Manakin and Blue Finch.
Join us for an adventure to Brazil today!