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10 Fascinating Facts About Chestnut-tipped Toucanets

The Chestnut-tipped Toucanet, or scientifically known as Aulacorhynchus derbianus, is a beautiful bird found in the dense forests of the Andes Mountains in South America. These birds are quite common in the region and are widely known for their striking features, which make them easy to identify.

In this article, we will cover the key identification features of Chestnut-tipped Toucanets, their different plumages, and molts. Identification:

The Chestnut-tipped Toucanet is a small bird, measuring only about 30cm in length.

Its most striking feature is its vibrant green plumage that covers most of its body. The bird has a white streak running along its throat, and its beak is quite long and curved, which is typical of all toucans.

The beak is black in color and has a yellow tip. The Chestnut-tipped Toucanet also has bright chestnut feathers on the tips of its wings, which are visible when flying.

Field Identification:

Mostly found in the dense, high-altitude Andean forests, these birds can be spotted easily by their vibrant green plumage and chestnut wingtips. They tend to stay in small groups and can be heard making loud, croaking calls, which are typical of toucans.

The calls can be quite distinctive, and once you have heard them, it can be easy to recognize and identify the Chestnut-tipped Toucanet. Similar Species:

The Chestnut-tipped Toucanet resembles other toucanet species found in the same regions, such as the Emerald Toucanet.

However, the Chestnut-tipped Toucanet can be distinguished by its chestnut wingtips, which are not present in the Emerald Toucanet. Additionally, the beak of the Chestnut-tipped Toucanet has a bright yellow tip, which is not present in other toucanet species.


Chestnut-tipped Toucanets go through different plumages during their lifetime, which can make identification a bit challenging, especially for beginners. However, understanding the different plumages can help identify different age groups.

Adult birds have a bright green plumage covering most of their body, with chestnut wingtips and throat streak. The beak is black in color and has a bright yellow tip.

Juvenile birds have a more subdued green plumage with a duller chestnut wingtip. The beak is shorter and has a duller color than the adult birds.


Chestnut-tipped Toucanets go through two molts during their lifetime – prebasic and prealternate. The prebasic molt occurs once a year and is when the bird sheds all its feathers and grows new ones.

During this time, the bird may look quite different, with a patchy appearance due to missing feathers. The prealternate molt occurs twice a year and is when the bird replaces its feathers, mostly around the face and head, to prepare for breeding.

This molt can occur right before the breeding season, so adult breeding birds may look quite different compared to non-breeding birds. In conclusion, the Chestnut-tipped Toucanet is a striking bird with beautiful features that make it easy to identify in the dense forests of the Andes Mountains.

By understanding their key identification features, plumages, and molts, bird enthusiasts can have a better appreciation and understanding of these amazing birds. , as the article will naturally come to a close after covering all the necessary information.

Systematics History:

The Chestnut-tipped Toucanet, scientifically known as Aulacorhynchus derbianus, is a species of toucan found in the Andes Mountains of South America. The bird was first described in 1852 by John Gould, an English ornithologist and bird artist.

The Chestnut-tipped Toucanet was initially classified as a member of the genus Pteroglossus before being reclassified into the genus Aulacorhynchus in 1902. Geographic Variation:

The Chestnut-tipped Toucanet has a wide range throughout the Andes Mountains, from Venezuela to Bolivia.

Due to its large distribution, the species exhibits some geographic variation in its physical characteristics. Birds that are found in northern parts of the Andes tend to have a brighter green plumage and more pronounced chestnut wingtips compared to birds found in southern regions of the Andes.


Currently, there are five recognized subspecies of the Chestnut-tipped Toucanet, each exhibiting some variation in their physical characteristics:

1. Aulacorhynchus derbianus derbianus

This subspecies is found in the northern parts of the Andes, including Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador.

Birds in this subspecies have a bright green plumage with a white throat streak and a distinct chestnut wingtip. 2.

Aulacorhynchus derbianus fulgidus

This subspecies is found in the central Andes, including Ecuador and Peru. Birds in this subspecies have a more subdued green plumage compared to A.

d. derbianus, and their chestnut wingtip is less pronounced.

3. Aulacorhynchus derbianus caeruleogularis

This subspecies is found in the southern parts of the Andes, including Peru and Bolivia.

Birds in this subspecies have a duller green plumage with a bluish-gray throat. 4.

Aulacorhynchus derbianus salvini

This subspecies is found in the eastern Andes of Peru. Birds in this subspecies have a darker green plumage, with a more prominent blue-green iridescence on their chest.

5. Aulacorhynchus derbianus stenorhynchus

This subspecies is found in the northern parts of Colombia.

Birds in this subspecies have a brighter green plumage with a more prominent chestnut wingtip compared to A. d.

derbianus. Related Species:

The Chestnut-tipped Toucanet is part of a larger group of toucans, the Ramphastos toucans, which includes over 40 different species found throughout Central and South America.

Within the genus Aulacorhynchus, the Chestnut-tipped Toucanet is closely related to other toucanet species, such as the Emerald Toucanet and the Collared Aracari. Historical Changes to Distribution:

The distribution of the Chestnut-tipped Toucanet has changed over time due to various factors such as climate change, deforestation, and human activities.

In the past, the bird was found at lower elevations in the Andes, but as climate change occurred, the bird moved to higher elevations where the climate was more suitable. Deforestation has also impacted the Chestnut-tipped Toucanet’s distribution, especially in the northern Andes.

As more land is cleared for agriculture and development, the bird’s habitat is destroyed, and its range continues to shrink. Human activities such as hunting and the pet trade have also impacted the Chestnut-tipped Toucanet’s distribution.

In some areas, the bird is hunted for food, and in other areas, it is captured and sold as a pet. This has led to the decline of the bird’s population in certain regions.

Conservation efforts are ongoing to protect the Chestnut-tipped Toucanet and its habitat. Efforts include establishing protected areas, habitat restoration, and education campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of conserving this species.

Through these efforts, it is hoped that the Chestnut-tipped Toucanet and other toucan species will continue to thrive in their natural habitats. , as the article will naturally come to a close after covering all the necessary information.


The Chestnut-tipped Toucanet prefers to live in dense forest habitats, especially in humid montane forests at higher elevations. These birds are commonly found in the Andes Mountains and can be seen up to 3800 meters elevation.

They occupy areas of cloud forest and are also known to live near the borders of forest and agricultural land. These toucanets thrive in areas with ample fruit trees, as well as thick vegetation for nesting, roosting, and feeding.

In addition, Chestnut-tipped Toucanets are known to breed in tree hollows, which are found in mature forests. Movements and Migration:

Chestnut-tipped Toucanets are non-migratory, with most individuals remaining in their home range year-round.

However, they are known to make short-distance movements within their territory as they seek out food and nesting sites. These birds are not known for undertaking long-distance migrations between seasons, but they may move within their range depending on the availability of food.

In times of drought or food shortages, Chestnut-tipped Toucanets may travel to lower elevations or other forested habitats in search of resources. In certain areas of its range, the Chestnut-tipped Toucanet may undergo altitudinal migrations, moving to higher or lower elevations at different times of the year in response to changes in vegetation, temperature, and food availability.

Chestnut-tipped Toucanets are known for their low, croaking calls, which they use to communicate with other members of their group. During the breeding season, these calls become more frequent as males create their territories and attract potential mates.

Conservation Status:

The Chestnut-tipped Toucanet is currently classified as a species of Least Concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. However, the species is threatened by habitat loss due to deforestation, commercial logging, and land-use changes.

Additionally, Chestnut-tipped Toucanets are hunted and trapped for their meat or captured to be sold into the pet trade, both of which have further threatened their populations in some areas. To promote conservation of this species, policy makers, conservation organizations, and local communities have made efforts in the form of habitat restoration, removing the invasive plant species, controlling hunting and pet trade, and creating protected areas for the Chestnut-tipped Toucanet and other montane bird species.

Overall, the continued effort to protect and increase the populations of Chestnut-tipped Toucanets through conservation efforts is crucial to maintain a healthy ecosystem and biodiversity in the Andes Mountains. , as the article will naturally come to a close after covering all the necessary information.

Diet and Foraging:


The Chestnut-tipped Toucanet’s diet consists of fruits, insects, and some small vertebrates. They use their long, curved beak to pluck fruits and berries from trees and bushes while perching on branches.

They also catch insects, such as beetles, ants, and termites in flight or on the ground, using their beak to pick them up and swallow them. Chestnut-tipped Toucanets may also prey on smaller birds or their eggs if they can find them.

Chestnut-tipped Toucanets forage in small family groups, moving between different trees and locations in search of food. These birds are known for their acrobatic abilities, using their beaks and tails for balance as they hop or climb through the dense forest canopy.


The Chestnut-tipped Toucanet is an omnivore that feeds primarily on fruits and insects. Their diet varies depending on the season, with a higher proportion of fruit during the wet season and increased insect consumption during the dry season when fruit is scarce.

Studies have shown that fruits make up the majority of their diet, with species such as Miconia, Vismia and Melastomataceae making up a large proportion of their fruit intake. Chestnut-tipped Toucanets are also known to consume a variety of other fruits, such as Palicourea, Solanum, and Piper.

In addition to fruits, Chestnut-tipped Toucanets also consume a variety of insects, including beetles, ants, termites, and spiders. They use their beak to catch and kill these prey items before swallowing them whole.

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation:

Chestnut-tipped Toucanets have a unique metabolism that allows them to store fat in their beak and neck during times of abundance to use when food is scarce. This adaptation helps them to survive during times of drought or other environmental stress.

In addition to their metabolism, Chestnut-tipped Toucanets have an efficient mechanism for regulating their body temperature. They can adjust their feather density and posture to reduce heat loss, ensuring that they remain warm in cool environments and avoid overheating in warm environments.

This ability to regulate their body temperature may also help them to survive in their high-altitude, mountainous habitat. Sounds and Vocal Behavior:


Chestnut-tipped Toucanets are known for their distinctive vocalizations, which include a variety of croaks, churrs, and clicks.

These calls are used to communicate with other members of their group and are especially important during the breeding season when males create territories and attract mates. During the breeding season, males may be heard making loud croaking calls to establish their territory and warn off competitors.

Females may respond with softer clicks, signaling their willingness to mate. Chestnut-tipped Toucanets also use their calls to communicate with other members of their group about food sources, predators, and other potential threats.

They are known to have complex communication systems that allow them to convey detailed information to other members of their group. In addition to their vocalizations, Chestnut-tipped Toucanets also use body language to communicate.

They can move their tails, wings, and bodies in specific ways to signal their intentions or emotions. In summary, Chestnut-tipped Toucanets are a fascinating species that have unique adaptations to their environment, including their metabolism and temperature regulation.

With their varied diet and acrobatic foraging behavior, they play an important role in maintaining the health of their ecosystem. Their distinctive vocalizations and communication systems also add to their appeal as one of the most charismatic birds of the Andes Mountains.

, as the article will naturally come to a close after covering all the necessary information. Behavior:


Chestnut-tipped Toucanets have a unique mode of locomotion that allows them to move through the dense forest canopy with ease.

Their acrobatic abilities, combined with their long beak and tail, allow them to hop and climb through the trees with agility. They can also fly, but their flights are short and usually involve moving from one tree to another.

Self Maintenance:

Chestnut-tipped Toucanets are fastidious about maintaining their appearance. They use their beak as a self-grooming tool, removing dirt and debris from their feathers.

They also preen each other in their family groups, helping to remove parasites and other debris that may be caught in their feathers. Agonistic Behavior:

Chestnut-tipped Toucanets may exhibit agonistic behavior towards members of their own species or other bird species when they feel their territory is being encroached upon.

They will issue loud calls and can become quite aggressive if threatened. Sexual Behavior:

During the breeding season, males will establish territories and use vocalizations to attract potential mates.

Once a mate is selected, they engage in courtship behavior that includes displays of their colorful feathers and beaks. Male Chestnut-tipped Toucanets may also bring food to the female as part of their courtship ritual.

After mating, both males and females will participate in building the nest, incubating the eggs, and feeding the chicks. Breeding:

Chestnut-tipped Toucanets typically breed during the rainy season, although breeding can occur at any time of the year.

Females will lay up to four eggs in a tree hole or cavity, which the pair has cleaned out and lined with soft materials such as leaves or feathers. Both parents will incubate the eggs, taking turns to keep them warm.

Incubation typically lasts around 16 to 18 days, after which the eggs hatch. The chicks are born relatively altricial, with downy feathers and closed eyes.

The parents will work together to feed the chicks, bringing back fruits and insects to regurgitate into their mouths. The chicks grow quickly, and within a few weeks, they begin to develop pinfeathers and open their eyes.

By around six weeks of age, the chicks are fully feathered and ready to leave the nest. The parents will continue to provide food for them for a few months until they are able to fend for themselves.

Demography and Populations:

The Chestnut-tipped Toucanet’s population size is not well-known, but it is believed to be relatively stable in most areas of its range. The species is listed as of Least Concern by the IUCN, but some populations are threatened by habitat loss and hunting.

Habitat destruction due to commercial logging and land-use changes has led to a decline in the species’ population in some areas. In addition, hunting for bushmeat and capture for the pet trade have also impacted some populations of Chestnut-tipped Toucanets.

Conservation efforts are underway to protect the species and its habitat. These efforts include creating protected areas, promoting sustainable logging practices, and reducing illegal hunting and the capture of birds for the pet trade.

Overall, Chestnut-tipped Toucanets play a vital role in the ecosystem, spreading the seeds of the fruits they eat and controlling insect populations. Understanding the biology and behavior of this unique species is crucial to conservation efforts and the maintenance of a healthy ecosystem.

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