While many of the 20 or so species of South American river stingrays have restricted ranges, this species is found in practically every river basin in South America. It is a popular species in aquariums because of its large orange spots. It can reach a diameter of two feet.
The two species of two-toed sloths have two toes on their forelimbs, but three on their hindlimbs. While the gentle three-toed sloths eat only leaves of a few species, and are notoriously difficult to maintain in zoos, captive two-toed enthusiastically eat all sorts of common fruits and vegetables, as well as monkey chow, and easily live for decades in captivity. Of the two species of two-toed Sloths, both are found in South America, but only Hoffman’s occurs in Central America as well.
In most classification systems, this northern South American bird is considered one of the most evolved of the 368 species of parrots throughout the world. It has a unique set of elongated red and blue feathers on the back of its head that can be raised into a head-dress like structure, so that another common name is “Red fan parrot”. Until the 1970s it was very rare in zoos, but is now frequently bred, including at the DWA.
The 83 species of barbets are stocky woodpecker relatives found in Africa, Asia and the New World Tropics. The New World species are likely ancestral to the toucans. Found only in Costa Rica and Panama, this species has always been extremely rare in captivity. The specimens at the DWA were obtained through special permits from the Government of Panama.
Compared to some other toucans, this species has a rather limited range in the north-western corner of South America, found in parts of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil. It has never been common in zoos and was not bred in captivity until 2009, at the DWA, where specimens were received through the cooperation of the Venezuelan organizations PROFAUNA and FUNZPA. While it may appear bewilderingly similar to other aracaris, the two complete black bands across its chest distinguish it from any other toucan.
Named for the pattern on its beak, the Lettered aracari has a larger South American range than its close relative, the Green aracari, but is much rarer in captivity. The first breedings outside of South America did not take place until 2010, when both the DWA and a private collection in California were successful. As with the Green aracari, males have black heads and females have brown heads.
Found in a large area of Brazil, as well as Bolivia, Paraguay, and tropical Argentina, this has the southern-most range of the 14 species of curassows. All of these turkey-sized birds are considered delicious and subject to hunting pressure and most are of concern to conservationists. This species, however, is considered comparatively abundant, though no longer found in parts of its range. Rare in US zoos, it is widespread in European collections.