Zoological Illustrations/VolII-Pl108

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Zoological Illustrations Volume II Plate 108.jpg


Yellow-billed Toucan.

Generic Character.—See Pl. 45.

Specific Character.

R. niger, gulâ aureâ; fasciâ pectorali latâ tegminibusque rubris; rostro viridi-flavo, basi fasciâ nigrâ transversâ ornatâ; mandibulæ superioris margine laterali rubro; culmine plano.
Black; throat golden-yellow; broad pectoral band and tail-covers red; bill greenish-yellow, the base with a transverse black band, and the lateral margins of the upper mandible red; the top flat.
R. dicolorus. Gm. p. 356. Lath. Ind. Orn. p. 135. 2. Turton. vol. i. 211.
Yellow throated Toucan. Lath. Syn. 1. 325. Turton. 1. 211. Brisson. Orn. 4. p. 411. pl. 31. f. 1. Buffon Pl. Enl. 269.
Le petit Toucan à ventre rouge. Vaill. H. N. des Toucans, pl. 8. (optimè).

This is the smallest species of the genuine Toucans yet known, inhabiting, though sparingly, the northern and southern extremities of tropical America. It is a species which seems to have been well understood by Linnæus and the older ornithologists, though none of them have described the form or peculiarities of the bill; it is probably owing to this omission, that Dr. Shaw has created an imaginary species in General Zoology, under the name of R. pectoralis; compounded of the descriptions he gathered of this bird, and the Linnæan R. tucanus. Dr. Latham's description is also inaccurate; nor is it improved in the new edition of his Synopsis, probably from not having himself seen the bird. Of the figures, there is a masterly delineation by Barraband, in Le Vaillant's work, but those of Buffon and Brisson are not to be trusted.

Total length about sixteen inches: bill three and a half; it is shorter and much thicker along the back, than that of any other species; this part also is broad, and quite flat; the serratures of the margin small, and the upper mandible only edged with a line of red; the sides are compressed, and the colours greenish-yellow; the orbits chesnut-red, and the feet (as in all the Toucans when fresh) delicate fine blue.

Dr. Langsdorff favoured me with a specimen of this rare bird, shot by himself in Southern Brazil; the sexes have been dissected by that able naturalist, but to which the one here figured belongs, I am unacquainted.