Channel-billed Toucan Ramphastos ariel
(aka Channel-billed Toucan Ramphastos vitellinus ariel)
Channel-billed Toucan, Caxiuanã, Pará, Brazil, November 2005 - click for larger image Caxiuanã, Pará, Brazil
November 2005

The Ariel Toucan is distributed south of the Amazon and east of the rio Tapajós in Pará, Maranhão and Piauí with a disjunct population in eastern Brazil. It is found in primary forest of various types but rarely seen in secondary growth.

Channel-billed Toucan, Caxiuanã, Pará, Brazil, November 2005 - click for larger image The taxonomy of this species is quite complicated but the HBW and Birdlife International Checklist recognise it as a separate, monotypic species. That said, recent research (Weckstein, J. D. 2004. "Biogeography explains cophylogenetic patterns in toucan chewing lice". Systematic Biology 53: 154-164) has found that the Amazonian population is only distantly related to that of the Atlantic Rain Forest so maybe there is another sub-species about to be described.
Channel-billed Toucan, Caxiuanã, Pará, Brazil, November 2005 - click for larger image It is a member of the croaking group of toucans.

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