Blue-throated Toucanet

The Blue-throated Toucanet (Aulacorhynchus caeruleogularis) is a small, green Toucan (Family Ramphastidae) found in the middle elevation forests and mountain cloud forests of Costa Rica and western Panama. Blue-throated Toucanets used to be considered a subspecies of the Emerald Toucanet (A. prasinus), but they are now considered to be a separate species. I observed this Blue-throated Toucanet in the misty, 7000 foot (2134 m) elevation cloud forest in San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica.

Blue-throated Toucanet (Aulacorhynchus caeruleogularis)

Like Emerald Toucanets, Blue-throated Toucanets are mostly green with a chestnut-colored crissum (area under the base of the tail) and a large bill with a yellow and black upper mandible and a black lower mandible. Despite their similarities, Blue-throated Toucanets are easily distinguished from Emerald Toucanets, not only by their range, but also by their distinctive sapphire blue throat.

Blue-throated Toucanets feed mainly on fruits, but they will also eat insects, flowers, small lizards, and the eggs and nestlings of other birds, such as those of Resplendent Quetzals (Pharomachrus mocinno). Like Resplendent Quetzals, Blue-throated Toucanets nest in tree cavities, usually the abandoned holes of woodpeckers. Although Blue-throated Toucanets are usually found in small flocks, this particular Blue-throated Toucanet appeared to be all alone. However, given that the leaf green plumage of Blue-throated Toucanets makes them surprisingly difficult to spot amidst the trees, there may have been unseen others nearby.