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Lettered Aracari Pteroglossus inscriptus

  • Order: Piciformes
  • Family: Ramphastidae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors: Justin Shick



There is little detailed information on the behavior of Lettered Aracari. Similar to most species of toucans, it forages primarily in the canopy, although rarely it descends to ground level, as at army ant swarms (Willis 1993). Usually acts in small groups of five or six individuals when raiding the nests of other birds; in at least some raids, the group surrounds the nest that is the target of the attack, and, when a parent attempts to defend against one aracari, another individual attacks the nest from the rear (Robinson 1997).

Typical of aracaris, the flight is swift and direct (Short and Horne 2001). Lettered Aracaris advance along branches by hopping. Höfling et al. (2006) found that Lettered Aracaris the movements of the two feet in a hop are slightly asynchronous.


Little information. At one site in southeastern Peru, Terborgh et al. (1990) were not able to determine territory or home range size for Lettered Aracari, but estimated a density of 1 individual/100 ha.

Sexual Behavior

There is no information on displays or the social system of Lettered Aracari; probably is at least socially monogamous.

Social and interspecific behavior

Lettered Aracaris usually occur in pairs or in small groups, which perhaps represent family units (Short and Horne 2001). Sometimes joins assemblages of other species of toucans (e.g. White-throated Toucan Ramphastos tucanus, Channel-billed Toucan Ramphastos vitellinus, Chestnut-eared Aracari Pteroglossus castanotis, and Curl-crested Aracari Pteroglossus beauharnaesii) in large fruiting trees, but tends to depart when larger species are present (Short and Horne 2001).


Little is known about predation on Lettered Aracari; perhaps is preyed upon by larger species of raptors.

Recommended Citation

Shick, J. (2014). Lettered Aracari (Pteroglossus inscriptus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.