Collared aracari

 

(Pteroglossus torquatus)

The “Mayan Inland” expedition begins by visiting a Mayan community that relies on the traditional agricultural activities (corn, beans, summer squash). They also have eco-touristic activities on a natural protected area that is around five thousand hectares big. These activities allow for a better management over the natural resources on this zone of the state of Quintana Roo, México.

When visiting the reserve, which is right in front of the town of Punta Laguna, we go looking for groups of monkeys: black-handed spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) and black howler monkeys (Alouatta pigra). When observing the intermediate portions of local vegetation (between five and ten meters high) we also have the chance to spot a numerous amount of bird species that reside in this part of the Yucatan Peninsula. One of them is the collared aracari.

From the same family as the toucans (fam. Ramphastidae), the aracari from the genus Pteroglossus includes fourteen different species that can be observed from southern México all the way down to Ecuador. It lives in groups ranging from six to twelve individuals, they feed on fresh fruit, insects, small reptiles, and eggs from different species. The aracari lives on low altitude (0-1,100 meters) neotropical forests, with humid and sub-humid warm weathers.

They normally use the holes carved by woodpeckers to lay their eggs and/or rest. You can find up to six aracaris on the same hole with their tails folded on their backs to save space.

The reproduction period spans from May till September, but it can change depending on the specific species. Both parents are in charge of watching the eggs during an average of sixteen days and will be assisted by other members of the group to feed the newborns. The toucan chicks will leave the nest after six weeks, although they will continue to be fed by the parents.

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Once they reach adulthood, the collared aracari can reach up to 41 centimeters and weigh around 230/240 grams. They use the cavities found in trees such as the elephant-ear tree (Enterolobium cyclocarpum) or epiphytic plants from the peninsula (fam. Bromeliaceae) to get hydrated.

The sustainable management of the reserve and the reception of guests is handled by the townspeople themselves. This ecological management allows to protect and safeguard the flora (semi-evergreen rainforest and floodable lowland rainforest) and the habitat of many species that live, feed and reproduce in the region. The loss of such habitat is the main cause of the disappearing of species such as the jaguar (Panthera onca), the cougar (Puma concolor) or the two species of monkeys mentioned previously.

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