Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Choco Toucan

The Choco toucan was originally considered a subspecies of the yellow-throated toucan, like the chestnut-mandibled toucan. In fact, it looks so much like the chestnut-mandibled toucan that it is difficult to distinguish the two. We saw both kinds of toucans at the Milpe Bird Sanctuary, at the same time, and it was really only when I got home and was able to take close-up looks at them that I was able to tell them apart.  
This is a Choco toucan. 

This is a chestnut-mandibled toucan. The only differences that really jump out are that the Choco has a black lower mandible, instead of chestnut (which is why it is sometimes called the black-mandibled toucan) and the Choco feathering on the cap, neck and back is more black with less chestnut in it.   
When we saw the two species of toucan I was thinking that "Choco" related to "chocolate" and that the Choco had the chestnut colored bill. But "Choco" actually refers to a region of cloud forest that runs from Panama to Peru on the western slopes of the Andes at an altitude ranging from 2,953 to 7,218 feet. 
This is a photo of the cloud forest in Mashpi (the Mashpi lodge is lighted on the side of the mountain). The Mashpi Amagusa Preserve, which I visited, was about at the top of the mountain above it. The photo is from here
eBird has 13,434 observations and 543 photos of the Choco. 

We saw another Choco toucan above Mindo at a great distance. My poor photo is very blurry. 

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