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Selva Verde Lodge Blog

selvaverde small 08Robert Alison photo

The collared aracari is a small awkward-looking toucan with a prominent enormously-oversized bill. It is fairly common throughout its 500,000 square mile Latin American range, and frequently seen at Selva Verde Lodge, where groups of aracaris often visit bird feeders and forage in local fruiting trees.

All 35 members of the toucan family occur exclusively in the New World tropics. There are 14 species of aracaris, all with slender bodies, richly-colored plumage and banana-shaped hollow bills. None of them are usually found far from forested areas, and most are generally encountered in groups of 6-16 individuals.

Collared aracaris seem to do everything in groups; foraging, loafing and even sleeping together. These birds are among the 16 species of Neotropical birds that have elaborate kinship behavior that includes cooperative care of offspring by non-parents. Research in Costa Rica

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11 costaricafeb08 131 300x201Blue-Gray Tanager

The Blue-Gray Tanager (Thraupis episcopus) is one of about 230 species of tropical and subtropical tanagers, and one of the most common and unmistakable birds in Costa Rica. It is a generalist frugavore (fruit-eater), found in a great variety of different habitats, most often in pairs.

It is plentiful and highly visible at Selva Verde, where it regularly frequents bird-feeding trays. Its primary diet comprises succulent fruit from trees, shrubs and vines. Recent studies confirm it has remarkable discriminatory capabilities and can detect 0.09 percent protein variations in food. These tanagers are restless, always on the move. Their call is a raspy squeaky twittering. In flight, they are easy to distinguish because they seem to bounce through the air, alternatively flapping their wings, then gliding with the wings tucked close to the body.

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