Description: As many as 17 subspecies of the Aulacorhynchus prasinus may exist, with the plumage in all being mostly green. The color of the throat and bill is used to name and identify the various subspecies. They measure from 12 to 15 inches (30 – 38 cm) in length (from top of the head to the tip of the tail) and weigh from 4.2 to 8.1 oz (119 – 230 grams).
Male and female Emerald toucanets are alike in color, but differ somewhat in size (females a bit smaller and bills are shorter). Their plumage is mainly emerald green (common name) with areas of bronze on the crown, forehead and upper back. The big bill is colorful, upper bill (maxilla) being mainly yellow and the lower bill (mandible) being black, with a white band at the bill’s base. Some have a reddish-brown (rufous) patch near the bill’s base, upper or lower mandible, lower belly and tips of feathers. There is a blue patch around the eyes, blue patch around each eye and the vent and tail-tip are reddish-brown. The skin around the eyes is black and the eyes are grayish brown.
Size: The adult Emerald is 12-15 inches long (30- 38 cm) with males weighing approximately 5.7 ounces (162 gr) and females 5.3 ounces (150 gr).
Behavior: Emerald toucanets are active birds that daily search for food covering a large area. They search in pairs or small flocks (sometimes up to eight birds). They roost in trees, perched on branches. Like other toucans during mating season, they “bill fence” which can be quite aggressive.
Diet: Their primary natural diet is fruit, sometimes feeding on insects, lizards, bird eggs or other small prey. They eat many insects for protein during the breeding season.
Reproduction: Nesting takes place in hollow areas in trees, often high above the ground. Since the bill is not an effective excavation tool, they usually find abandoned woodpecker nests or other natural cavities. They are capable of enlarging the opening and the chips provide a place on which the three or four white eggs are laid. Parents share equally in incubation duties, until they hatch after 14 – 16 days, The helpless hatchlings are blind and naked. Feathers begin to expand at 4 weeks and between 42-45 days, they fledge (leave the nest).
Habitat/range: This bird can usually be found in humid forest and woodland areas in mountainous regions of Mexico down into Venezuela.
Status: Listed as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List.