Bird O'clock

5 Fascinating Behaviors of the Blue-Banded Toucanet

The Blue-banded Toucanet, also known as the Aulacorhynchus coeruleicinctis, is a small forest bird native to Central and South America. These beautiful birds are renowned for their striking colors, including a bright green body, white throat, and a blue and black banded bill.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the Blue-banded Toucanet and examine its identification, plumages, and molts.


The Blue-banded Toucanet is a small bird, measuring around 30-36 cm in length. Their beaks are large and slightly curved, designed to help them forage for fruits and insects in the dense forest canopies where they live.

One of the easiest ways to identify the Blue-banded Toucanet is by its bright green body, with a blue and black banded bill, and a white throat. They have yellow eyes that are surrounded by an orange or red skin patch.

Their feet are zygodactyl, meaning that they have two toes pointing forward and two pointing backward, allowing them to easily perch on branches. Field


The Blue-banded Toucanet can be identified by several characteristics, including the green-olive color of its wings, back, and tail.

Its white throat contrasts with the green underparts and the blue and black banded bill. A glimpse of the red-orange eye-ring encircling its yellow iris gives a clue to its identity.

When flying, the Blue-banded Toucanet shows its bright red underwing coverts, a feature that is difficult to miss.

Similar Species

The Blue-banded Toucanet can be easily confused with other similarly colored toucan species, including the Emerald Toucanet (Aulacorhynchus prasinus), which also occurs in Central and South America. While the Emerald Toucanet has a similar appearance, it has a black bill rather than the blue and black banded bill of the Blue-banded Toucanet.


The Blue-banded Toucanet has several distinct plumages that they exhibit throughout their lives. Juvenile Blue-banded Toucanets have a fuzzy plumage that is duller than that of adults, and their bills are shorter and lighter in color.

As they mature, they molt their juvenile plumage to achieve their first adult plumage, which is similar to that of the adult. Adult males and females look similar; however, males may have a slightly longer bill than females.


The Blue-banded Toucanet undergoes a complete annual molt, which takes place after the breeding season and lasts for several weeks. During this period, the birds replace their feathers, including wings and tail feathers, in a process that generally follows a specific pattern.

In conclusion, the Blue-banded Toucanet is a fascinating bird with a distinct blue and black banded bill that is easily recognizable. Its beautiful green feathers, yellow eyes, and red underwing coverts make it a treat for birdwatchers to spot.

Understanding its identification, plumages, and molts enhances our appreciation of this beloved bird species. The Blue-banded Toucanet, also known as the Aulacorhynchus coeruleicinctis, is a fascinating bird species that belongs to the order Piciformes.

These small toucans are native to Central and South America, and they are renowned for their striking colors, including bright green feathers, yellow eyes, and a blue and black banded bill. In this article, we will explore the systematics history of the Blue-banded Toucanet, including its geographic variation, subspecies, and related species.

We will also examine the historical changes to its distribution over time.

Systematics History

The Blue-banded Toucanet was first described by John Gould in 1833, and it belongs to the genus Aulacorhynchus, which comprises about 12 species of toucans found in the Americas. The name Aulacorhynchus is derived from the Greek words ‘aulax’, meaning furrow or valley, and ‘rhynchos’, which means beak.

The genus was first erected by Coenraad Jacob Temminck in 1821.

Geographic Variation

The Blue-banded Toucanet exhibits significant geographic variation across its range. Its green feathers and banded bills remain consistent across all populations; however, there are variations in eye color and throat color.

The species has two recognized subspecies: Aulacorhynchus coeruleicinctis coeruleicinctis, which is found in the eastern Andean mountains from southern Colombia to central Peru, and Aulacorhynchus coeruleicinctis sapphireinus, which is found in the western Andes from southern Ecuador to northern Peru.


The A. c.

sapphireinus subspecies is slightly larger than A. c.

coeruleicinctis, and its throat is more greenish than the white throat of the eastern subspecies. The sapphireinus subspecies also has a bluer nape and a shorter bill.

Conversely, the coeruleicinctis subspecies has more orange around the eye, and the bill is slightly longer than that of the sapphireinus subspecies. However, the differences between the two subspecies are subtle and may not be apparent to the untrained eye.

Related Species

The Blue-banded Toucanet is closely related to other toucan species such as the Emerald Toucanet (Aulacorhynchus prasinus), but they are distinguishable from one another due to differences in plumage. The Emerald Toucanet has a black beak and a bit less blue on the edges of its wings and tail than the Blue-banded Toucanet.

Historical Changes to Distribution

The Blue-banded Toucanet has historically been found in the Andean regions of Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador, as well as Peru and Bolivia. Due to human activities, however, the Blue-banded Toucanet has experienced range contractions and fragmentation in some areas, resulting in isolated populations.

For example, the species used to occur in the cloud forests of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia, but it hasn’t been seen there in recent times. The Blue-banded Toucanet is not listed as a threatened species, but it is affected by habitat loss from deforestation, fragmentation, and urbanization.

Human activities such as mining, agriculture, and urbanization are some of the primary drivers of habitat destruction. In addition, climate change has also been noted as a factor contributing to changes in vegetation cover, which can impact the distribution of bird species.

In conclusion, understanding the systematics history of the Blue-banded Toucanet allows us to appreciate its place in the larger picture of bird evolution. The subspecies and geographic variations within the species provide an opportunity to study how populations evolve over time.

Conservation efforts are necessary to protect the species from habitat loss and fragmentation, so that future generations can continue to admire this stunning bird in the wild. The Blue-banded Toucanet is a colorful bird that is native to the forests of Central and South America.

These small birds are known for their bright green feathers, yellow eyes, and a blue and black banded bill. In this article, we will explore the habitat of the Blue-banded Toucanet, as well as its movements and migration patterns.


The Blue-banded Toucanet is primarily found in the mountainous regions of Central and South America, ranging from southern Ecuador to Bolivia in the south. They inhabit montane forests, cloud forests, and humid subtropical forests, usually at elevations between 1500 to 3000 meters above sea level.

These toucans are often found in pairs or small groups of up to six birds. They have a high level of adaptability and can reside in a wide variety of forest types, including secondary growth and selectively logged forests.

However, habitat destruction and fragmentation due to deforestation and agriculture are major threats to the species, and it faces risks of extinction in certain areas.

Movements and Migration

The Blue-banded Toucanet is considered a non-migratory species. They often stay within their home range throughout the year.

However, they may undertake seasonal movements for breeding or food resources. During the breeding season, which typically occurs between February to May, Blue-banded Toucanets may disperse from their breeding territories in search of food, especially fruiting trees.

Generally, these movements are not long-distance and do not involve crossing large geographical barriers. In addition to seasonal movements, young Blue-banded Toucanets may also disperse to find new breeding territories or join an existing family group.

These dispersal movements usually occur in the post-breeding season. Blue-banded Toucanets are generally not migratory, but their movements can be influenced by seasonal changes, such as changes in the availability of fruiting trees.

They are also affected by habitat loss and fragmentation, which can lead to the isolation of populations and even a reduction in the genetic diversity of the species.

Conservation and Management

The habitat of the Blue-banded Toucanet is under threat from human activities such as deforestation and land conversion.

Habitat fragmentation also poses a threat to the species, as it reduces the genetic diversity of the species and limits the ability of birds to disperse and find new territories.

In addition, the illegal pet trade is another threat to the survival of the species. To mitigate these threats, it is crucial to implement effective conservation measures.

One such measure is the creation of protected areas, which can help to conserve and restore the habitats of the Blue-banded Toucanet. The active management of these protected areas is necessary to ensure their long-term effectiveness, which includes forest restoration and sustainable land use practices.

In addition to protected areas, community-based conservation initiatives can also provide a pathway for the conservation of the Blue-banded Toucanet. Community engagement in conservation efforts can help to create awareness and promote sustainable land management practices.


The Blue-banded Toucanet inhabits the mountainous regions of Central and South America and is primarily found in montane forests, cloud forests, and humid subtropical forests. The species is considered non-migratory, but their movements can be influenced by seasonal changes and breeding behaviors.

Human activities such as deforestation and land conversion pose a significant threat to the species, and it is essential to implement conservation measures such as protected areas and community-based conservation initiatives to safeguard its survival. The Blue-banded Toucanet (Aulacorhynchus coeruleicinctis) is a small forest bird native to Central and South America, noted for its striking green feathers, blue and black banded bill, and yellow piercing eyes.

In this article, we will examine the diet and foraging behaviors of the species, as well as its vocalizations.

Diet and Foraging

The Blue-banded Toucanet is primarily a frugivorous bird that feeds on fruits, berries, and seeds. They also consume small insects such as ants and termites, making them omnivorous.

These birds have a unique digestive system that allows them to efficiently process the different types of food they eat. They have a large crop that can hold large amounts of fruit, which is then ground and broken down by a muscular gizzard.


Blue-banded Toucanets are usually arboreal, meaning they live in tree canopies, and they forage in small groups. They commonly feed on fruits from a variety of trees, such as Ficus (figs), Cecropia, and various palm species.

Fruiting trees are essential to their foraging routines, and they are known to travel long-distances across the forest to reach these trees. Once they locate a fruiting tree, they may remain in the same area, or the same tree, for several days or weeks, until the food source is exhausted.


Blue-banded Toucanets have a diverse diet and consume fruits of all shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors. Their diet also includes the fruits of rare or threatened plant species such as the Polylepis forests of the Andes region.

This is essential for the survival and dispersal of the seeds of these species, making the bird an important keystone species.

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

The Blue-banded Toucanet has a unique metabolic system that allows them to regulate their body temperature efficiently. They have a low metabolic rate given their active foraging habits, which helps conserve energy for extended periods of flight, as well as to cope with unpredictable food availability.

When resting, they can lower their body temperature, reducing energy expenditure.


The Blue-banded Toucanet is known for its distinct vocalizations, which are a series of loud, high-pitched calls. These vocalizations are used for communication, primarily in maintaining contact between members of the family group.

The vocalizations are a combination of short croaks and metallic rattling calls. During mating season, males and females perform a duet of calling to attract potential mates.

The calls of this species are essential in maintaining communication in dense forests. Blue-banded Toucanets are social birds that maintain contact via vocalizations.

The calls also play a critical role in keeping groups together and alerting others of predators, among other necessary functions.


The Blue-banded Toucanet is a fascinating bird with unique characteristics such as their metabolic system, which allows them to regulate their body temperature in a unique way. The bird has a diverse diet, that includes fruits and insects, while their crop and gizzard enable them to break down the seeds and fruit of all sorts of different species of fruiting trees.

The Blue-banded Toucanet is also known for its unique vocalizations, used to maintain communication and social cohesion within the family group. The conservation of the bird’s habitat is crucial in maintaining the diversity of tropical forests which it leads its life in, as well as in keeping its crucial ecological role in the dispersing seeds and maintaining the ecosystem’s health.


The Blue-banded Toucanet is a small tropical bird that is noted for its vibrant coloration and unique plumage. Its behavior is equally fascinating, from foraging to locomotion, and its social interactions.

In this article, we will explore the Blue-banded Toucanets behavior, including locomotion, self-maintenance, agonistic behavior, sexual behavior, and breeding.


Blue-banded Toucanets spend most of their time in forest canopies moving from one location to the next. They are skilled climbers that use their powerful bill and claw-like toes to negotiate through branches and woody shrubs.

Toucans have a unique way of moving called “to-and-fro” motion, which involves hopping along branches in a horizontal position, alternately facing left and right to maintain balance.


Blue-banded Toucanets are meticulous animals that spend a considerable amount of time preening and maintaining their feathers. They use their bills to reach every part of their body while maintaining their pristine plumage.

They also maintain their bills by rubbing them against a hard surface till they are worn out and sharpened. Agonistic


Blue-banded Toucanets live in small family groups and may engage in agonistic behavior with other members.

These confrontations usually arise when two individuals have a dispute over resources or territory. Aggressive displays may include head bobbing, bill clacking, and threatening vocalizations that may escalate into physical aggression.



During the breeding season, male Blue-banded Toucanets perform elaborate displays to attract potential mates. They engage in bill-snapping behavior to impress the females and vocalize loudly to establish their territory.

The female assesses the male’s display and selects a mate based on the quality of his display. Reproductive success is tied to the quality of the display, and some males are selected more frequently than others.


Blue-banded Toucanets form monogamous pair bonds, which can last for several seasons. During the breeding season, they engage in courtship behavior involving elaborate displays and vocalizations.

The female lays between two to four eggs, with an incubation period of between 14 to 16 days. Both parents take turns incubating the eggs and feeding the chicks once they have hatched.

Demography and Populations

The Blue-banded Toucanet is considered to be a species of “least concern” according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, local populations of the species face threats from deforestation, habitat degradation, and fragmentation.

These threats can result in significant changes in population size and structure over time. The Blue-banded Toucanet is a keystone species in tropical ecosystems as it plays an essential role in seed dispersal, pollination, and nutrient cycling.

The bird’s conservation is crucial for the maintenance of the ecosystem, and its populations and demographics play an essential role in this regard.


The Blue-banded Toucanet is a fascinating bird species that exhibits unique behaviors like to-and-fro motion while moving, meticulous self-maintenance, agonistic behavior, sexual behavior, and breeding. Its behavior has a crucial role in maintaining healthy ecosystems and keeping the forest floors clean and free of pests and dead wood.

Nonetheless, the bird’s survival is threatened by numerous human activities that affect their habitat. It is imperative to implement conservation measures such as habitat restoration, human-wildlife conflict mediation, and educating local communities on the importance of conserving their habitat to conserve the species for future generations.

Popular Posts