Keel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus), Caves Branch River, Cayo District, Belize
This bird (a recently released rehab hence its approachability) has (blue) zygodactyl feet with toes facing in different directions (two forward, two back) which allows it to manoeuvre its way through dense forest in search of food, mainly fruits and insects... this particular guy loved palm nuts!
This is the Keel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus), the national bird of Belize, and whilst I regularly see individuals and pairs here on the reserve, a just published report by Birdlife International shows that of the 570 bird species studied, over one quarter already show the negative effects of climate change where we now see a consistent pattern of birds moving towards the north and south poles in their respective hemispheres, and moving to higher altitudes on mountain slopes- for the Keel-billed Toucan, a lowland species, this may have dire consequences as the latest evidence from Costa Rica showed they were now being found at elevations of 1500m; in Belize our highest peaks are Doyle's Delight and Victoria Peak at only 1124m and 1120m respectively!
Top photograph by Roni Martinez, secondphoto and text by David Hilmy
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