As I have already related in my post about birding a shade-grown coffee plantation there was an Emerald Toucanet (Aulacorhynchus prasinus) that was kind enough to stay in one spot long enough for me to digiscope it.  The green bird, which could amazingly almost disappear in the foliage, was feeding on fruit (figs? Nope, manteco, according to James).  It was great fun watching it stretch and use that giant bill to delicately pluck individual fruit and gulp them down.  Sometimes the bird had to use twister-like contortions to get the particular fruit that it wanted.  I kept expecting it to lose its balance, considering the size of its bill, but the bill, made of keratin, is amazingly lightweight despite its size.  I hope you enjoy looking at the images I got as much as I enjoyed taking them!

Of course, because nothing about the taxonomy of birds in Central America is simple, and it has been suggested that Emerald Toucanet are actually more than one species.  There is a simple rundown on the Wikipedia entry for the bird (and Nick has a ton more here and here).  So who wants to send me back to Central America so I can find the other varieties?

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.