Curl-crested araçari

Pteroglossus beauharnaesii

At the Zoo


South American Tropical Rainforest and Aviary

Fascinating Facts

  • The curl-crested araçari is part of the toucan family. Toucans are easily recognized birds with an over-sized and colorful bill that allows them to pluck fruit from vegetation as well as drink water from the crevices of trees.
  • Their last three vertebrae are fused, joined to the spine with a ball and socket joint, which allows toucans to flip their tails above their bodies to touch their heads. They sleep in this posture to protect their bill, resting it on their backs causing them to resemble a ball of feathers. This compact posture allows many to roost together at night in even smaller hollows.

Physical Characteristics

Curl-crested araçaris are a beautifully colored, glossy-feathered birds with curled feathers on their crown. These modified head feathers are unlike any other araçari and resemble shiny black pieces of plastic. They have a long tail and zygodactyl feet. They have relatively small wings, suitable only for short distance flights.


Curl-crested araçaris are found in western Brazil into southeastern Peru and northeastern Bolivia, in tropical moist lowland forests. They are arboreal and diurnal. Araçaris are considered mainly frugivorous, but are actually omnivores, occasionally consuming eggs or young birds.

Social Behavior

They are generally gregarious and fly in small flocks of 3-12 birds or in pairs through the canopy, foraging in fruiting trees. During the breeding season, males tend to modify the nest site and coax the female to it for her approval. Then pairs will separate out for nesting in tree cavities, where both parents incubate the eggs, feed the babies and share in nest cleaning duties.

Status In The Wild

Least Concern – IUCN 2012

Animals & Exhibits