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Crimson-Rumped Toucanet

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Is the Crimson-Rumped Toucanet right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: N/A

Scientific name: Aulachorynchus haematopygus

The basics:
The Crimson-rumped Toucanet, one of the first toucanets to be successfully bred in captivity, has mysteriously fallen out of fashion. It is a beautiful and agreeable bird that was first bred in a colony in a very large mixed-species aviary at the Los Angeles Zoo, which suggests that it isn't as aggressive as many toucans during the breeding season, but its current rarity in aviculture means that this species is recommended only to serious breeders who are working to restore its availability.

There are two subspecies of the Crimson-rumped Toucanet found in mountain forests on the western slope of the northern Andes ranging from about 500 to 2,000 meters in elevation.

Appearance:
Like their cousin, the Emerald Toucanet, the Crimson-rump is a brilliant, mostly green toucan, but it boasts a bright red rump combined with a black bill that has a deep red stripe along the upper mandible. They can fade from green to blue or turquoise in captivity.

Weight:
150 - 230 grams (5.3 - 8.1 oz.)

Average size:
35 - 42 centimeters (13.8 - 16.5 in.)

Lifespan:
10 - 15 years

Behavior / temperament:
The Crimson-rumped Toucanet has been ranked as the easiest toucan to breed. Its personality is otherwise quite similar to its Emerald Toucanet cousin, and it can make an extremely rewarding pet for the person who can spend time with these intelligent creatures. A single pet will play catch for grapes, and it will purr with pleasure when it's being petted. They love to bathe and will express obvious joy when being gently misted with cool water on a warm day. They don't care to be isolated or ignored, and they may croak like a frog to gain attention.

Housing:
Crimson-rumped Toucanets cannot be happy unless they are able to leap and to fly. They can't exercise by climbing. A single pet held indoors needs a very long cage – at least six feet long. You should also have a place where it's OK for your pet to hang out with you outside the cage. Because of the frugivore's soft feces, they are not good over a carpeted area. Place plastic over the carpet, or perhaps just replace the carpet with a nice quarry tile.

Most people considering the Crimson-rumped Toucanet will probably be breeders seeking to build a special purpose aviary for them. They probably benefit from sunlight, and they can do splendidly in an aviary that allows them access to natural sunlight. They will need protection from mosquitoes and predators, and they will also appreciate a sturdy shelter from the cold. As a mountain species, they can tolerate cool weather if they are properly acclimated. Depending on where you live, overheating might be the bigger worry. Construct the aviary with some common sense. Birds in southern California won't need a complicated heating system, but birds held in the dry southwestern United States would certainly need a sprinkler system that comes on and cools things down if the temperature starts to soar.

Despite their success in previous years in mixed species aviaries, it might be better to give a pair or colony its own private breeding flight until such time as the Crimson-rumps have again become better represented in aviculture.

Diet:
Like the other toucans, Crimson-rumped Toucanets must be fed carefully to prevent the development of iron storage disease, which can cause sudden death. The backbone of the diet is fruit -- 70% papaya, 20% bananas, 5% grapes and 5% blueberries. The mix of fruit is not set in stone, and if papaya is not available, then cantaloupe can be used. Many other fruits can also be added to the mix. However, because citrus fruit may promote the storage of iron in the body, avoid oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, and other citrus. Pineapple and tomato also contain citric acid, so they should be avoided as well.

Softbill pellets should be a low iron variety developed specifically for toucans that has NO propylene glycol. Mazuri Low Iron Softbill Diet is a highly regarded pellet that fills these specifications. Insects and pinkie mice, which you will see recommended in older diets, should not be given except on advice of an expert breeder or avian vet. You should also ask about for the latest advice about whether or not to attempt to color feed your birds to retain the brightest possible green plumage. Fresh water should be available at all times, including a shallow pan for splashing and bathing.

Written by Elaine Radford

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