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Chestnut Eared Aracaris (Pteroglossus castanotis) enjoy the widest distribution of any Aracari species and are one of the most common and easily observed of all the toucans in the wild. They are a lowland species found throughout western Brasil north to eastern Colombia and south through eastern Peru to northern and eastern Bolivia and northern Argentina. They are commonly seen in close connection with human habitation, visiting small towns and farms, where we have seen them eating ripe papayas still on the tree.

The Chestnut-Eared Aracari is the largest of the smaller toucans weighing an average of 300 grams. It is similar in appearance to the Black Neck Aracari, except it is larger and more colorful. The Chestnut Eared has a dark brown beak except for a yellow-orange stripe running longitudinally along the upper side of the culmen broadening as it moves forward to the tip, which is entirely dull yellow. The iris is white (sometimes yellow), and the eyeskin varies from turquoise to dark gray. The crown is black with the throat, ears and nape chestnut brown. The back, wings and tail are olive green and the rump is red. Whereas the Black Neck has olive thighs, the Chestnut has brown thighs.

Chestnut Eared Aracaris have never been common in captivity in the U.S., surprisingly so since they are so very common in the wild. Emerald Forest has been fortunate in acquiring a number of pairs of Chestnut Eared Aracaris since 2003 and these birds have proven to be excellent breeders. We have raised a number of them, most of which have been held back for future breeding until now and are available to the general bird loving public.

Chestnut Eareds are attractive aviary birds and make wonderful pets. They are among the two or three most intelligent of the small toucans, very docile, imprint quickly when handfed as babies and are easy to teach tricks and to potty train. They enjoy the company of people, like to be scratched on the head and neck and will sit and purr contentedly in your lap for hours. Their care is the same as for all other toucans. They come highly recommended.

First captive breeding: May 27, 1983 by Rod Barth. CITES status: not listed.