Saturday, December 26, 2009

Unidentified Toucan No More!

The mystery is solved! This photogenic bird that posed so nicely for me at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle back in September is a green aracari (Pteroglossus viridis); a type of toucan. You may remember I did a painting of it as well, but I couldn't identify what kind of toucan it was. Today I was surfing the internet, dreaming of someday being able to have the time and money to visit the Canopy Lodge in Panama for a birding vacation and noticed a photo from a visitor that looked a lot like my mystery bird. It was identified as a collared aracari. So I hopped back to the Seattle Zoo's website and typed "aracari" into the search feature instead of "toucan" and sure enough, I got a hit for "green aracari". I then google-imaged (I can hear the grammar mavens out there shuddering) "green aracari" and bingo - tons of photos of my bird!

The green aracari is found in northern South America and is the smallest of the toucans. It is also the only toucan species in which the male and female look different (called sexual dimorphism). Males have a black head whereas females, which is apparently what my bird is, have what is described as a rusty chestnut head (looks dark maroon to me...) and a slightly smaller bill.

So daydreaming and surfing the Web today turned out to be a productive activity for once. Plus fantasizing about seeing a green aracari in the tropics took my mind off the latest cold snap we're headed into. Brrr.


Heather said...

Woohoo! Congrats on finding the ID. I love it when information just kind of falls into your lap like that. Bings one day, an identified toucan the next... what's next?! Happy Holidays!

Kelly said...

...have to agree with Heather, and I love your painting. (Your Christmas dinner alternative sounds yummy--we used to eat pizza for Christmas dinner--that was always fun. Recently, it's been honey-baked ham...).

...the waterlily bling is beautiful--I love the reflection in that painting...

(Re: the CBC--Saw-whet Owls are doing well in Ohio. In Chillicothe they have a really big banding program. We found two cedars with a lot of white-wash. I want to go back to try to find him to photograph. I didn't see him, the group leader and another guy found him at 5:30 a.m. I didn't get there until a little later, but he was part of the count...)

Dave Lewis said...

Wouldn't it be nice to escape the winter doldrums and head to Panama?
We can always dream...Happy New Year!