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.