Toucans (Ramphastidae)

Channel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos vitellinus) - HBW 7, p. 270

French: Toucan ariel German: Dottertukan Spanish: Tucán Picoacanalado
Other common names: Osculated/Sulphur-and-white-breasted Toucan; Citron-throated/Orange-billed Toucan (citreolaemus); Yellow-ridged Toucan (culminatus); Ariel Toucan (ariel)

Taxonomy: Ramphastos vitellinus M. H. K. Lichtenstein, 1823, Cayenne.
One of the so-called “croaking group” of toucans, along with R. dicolorus, R. sulfuratus, R. brevis and R. toco. No very close relatives. Has hybridized with R. dicolorus. All four races well marked, and sometimes considered four distinct species: all four, however, interbreed to massive extent wherever they meet, forming huge hybrid populations, e.g. culminatus interbreeds with citreolaemus in NW Venezuela, with nominate vitellinus in S Venezuela and Brazil N of Amazon, and widely with ariel S of Amazon (in Amazonas, W Pará,.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Ramphastos vitellinus M. H. K. Lichtenstein, 1823, Cayenne.
One of the so-called “croaking group” of toucans, along with R. dicolorus, R. sulfuratus, R. brevis and R. toco. No very close relatives. Has hybridized with R. dicolorus. All four races well marked, and sometimes considered four distinct species: all four, however, interbreed to massive extent wherever they meet, forming huge hybrid populations, e.g. culminatus interbreeds with citreolaemus in NW Venezuela, with nominate vitellinus in S Venezuela and Brazil N of Amazon, and widely with ariel S of Amazon (in Amazonas, W Pará, Rondônia, Tocantins, Goiás, Piauí, NW São Paulo, and Mato Grosso); hybrids probably outnumber genetically “pure” individuals of all forms, and it proves impossible to draw strict boundaries separating races geographically. Several previously described forms now known to represent hybrids: “berliozi” (R Negro, N Brazil) is cross between nominate vitellinus and culminatus; and “osculans” (upper R Negro), “theresae” (NE Brazil) and “pintoi” (SE Brazil) are all hybrids of culminatus with ariel. Four subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • citreolaemus Gould, 1844 - CN & NE Colombia into NW Venezuela.
  • culminatus Gould, 1833 - NW & SW Venezuela, and Colombia E of Andes, E to C & E Brazil (W Pará, Piauí), and S to C Bolivia, Mato Grosso and SE Brazil (NW São Paulo).
  • vitellinus Lichtenstein, 1823 - Trinidad, and E Venezuela, the Guianas, and NE Brazil N of Amazon.
  • ariel Vigors, 1826 - Brazil S of Amazon, E from R Tapajós in Pará, Maranhão and Piauí, and disjunctly from E Pernambuco S to Santa Catarina.