There’s something about a toucan, isn’t there? Toucans tell you that you aren’t in Kansas anymore. They affirm that the tropics are true, not just myths manufactured to make those of us with winter jealous. Thanks to a childhood steeped in sugary cereal, I’ve always had a soft spot for Toucan Sam and his ilk. And while I’ve seen a number of different toucan species, every one is a thrill, even the toucanets!

Actually, the toucanets I’ve may be even better than the toucans, since some of them have offered better views. The Crimson-rumped Toucanets (Aulacorhynchus haematopygus) I was privileged to observe at Refugio Paz de Las Aves in Ecuador were absolute cripplers, as the parlance goes. Is this a beautiful bird or what?

The toucanets looked terribly handsome from a distance and even better as they got closer…

and closer still!

Look at that monstrous bill! The Crimson-rumped Toucanet is a bird of humid northern Andean forests. Aulacorhynchus species are considered the green toucanets, which suits this bird pretty well besides its blue-tinged breast and ruby-red rump. As one might surmise, a toucanet is tinier than a full-fledged toucan.

Toucans are birds of legend come to life. Neotropical specialties like manakins, tanagers, and antpittas may get most of the press but, seriously, what are the tropics without those trusty toucans?

This post was originally published on 30 March 2010, but we hate to keep posts this good buried in the archives!


Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.