Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bird of the month: Yellow-eared Toucanet

The Yellow-eared Toucanet (Selenidera spectabilis) is an attractive, sexual dimorphic inhabitant of wet forests in the lowlands and (specially) foothills along Panama's Caribbean slope and locally in foothills of the Pacific slope. It ranges from Honduras to NW Colombia and NW Ecuador, being the only Selenidera toucanet in these areas. Like others members of this group, the males show a yellow ear patch, while the female have less black in the plumage. Despite most references mention that they are found alone or in pairs, I have seen loose flocks of this spectacular species at the elfin forest of Cerro Jefe (above Cerro Azul, where I took the photos of the cooperative female I'm showing here and where Osvaldo took his of a male). These are inconspicuous birds, despite their colourfulness, because are found high on the trees, but they get closer to the ground in suitable places near the forest border. They are not quite vocal, but when they are, they give a croacking call distinctively bi-syllabic. Among the toucans, these are medium-sized birds, with the Emerald Toucanet (of the foothills and highlands) being smaller and the Ramphastos toucans (mainly in the lowlands, but also in foothills) being considerably larger. We have seen this species in at least five different localities in the Pacific slope, where it is quite local (and where most part of the panamanian population lives), so we consider ourselves as lucky guys. Just think about encountering such a beautiful bird in the wild, pretty amazing don't you think? That is why we choose the Yellow-eared Toucanet as our bird of the month!
Literature consulted:
1. Ridgely RS, Gwynne JA. A guide to the birds of Panama. 1993
2. Hilty SL, Brown WL. A guide to the birds of Colombia. 2001
3. Garrigues R, Dean R. The birds of Costa Rica. 2007


  1. me encantan estos reportes!!. solo te falta agregar un link a los sonidos en xeno-canto. una pregunta, se encuentran en chiriqui estos tucanes?

  2. Thanks for distilling valuable info into one spot. And for the wonderfully, colorful pix!

  3. @ Olmedo: los reportes de Chiriquí son del oriente (no alrededor del Volcan Barú)
    @ Leslie: you are welcome, and thank you for the video!

  4. Awesome images as always! Great bird of the month.