• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
Feel the intensity, not your equipment. Maximum image quality. Minimum weight. The new ZEISS SFL, up to 30% less weight than comparable competitors.

Northern Emerald Toucanet - BirdForum Opus

Monteverde subspecies maxillaris (usually lumped in caeruleogularis)
Photo by: safariranger
Monteverde, Costa Rica, February 2013
Aulacorhynchus prasinus

Includes: Blue-throated Toucanet; Violet-throated Toucanet; Wagler's Toucanet


Subspecies prasinus
Photo by Raul Padilla
La Mision, Mexico, June 2010

30-35cm (11¾-13¾ in). Sexes similar but females have shorter bills and average smaller on all other measurements except possibly weight.

  • Green plumage
  • Rufous vent and tail tip
  • Black bill with yellow on the upper mandible
  • White, yellowish, violet or blue throat dependent on subspecies
  • Eye ring can be blue to red, but no yellow around eye
  • Dull grey legs
  • Dark iris


Monteverde subspecies maxillaris (usually lumped in caeruleogularis)
Photo by: Reini
Monteverde, Costa Rica, February 2005

The subspecies vary in extent of black on bill, in colour of basal line of bill, in colour around eye, throat colour, and tone of green around breast and head:

  • wagleri with yellower front of head, olive crown, pale breast with blue tinge, and bill with black base of upper but orange base of lower mandible
  • prasinus group with yellow on upper mandible more extensive than any other group - reaching base of upper mandible and as a stripe at base of lower mandible, black around nares, whitish or yellowish wash on throat, and white below eyes
  • caeruleogularis group with blue chin, throat, upper breast; both mandibles mostly black with narrow yellow along culmen on the outer 4/5thand inwards bordered by chestnut, and pale stripe at base of both mandibles
  • cognatus with violet throat, differs in lasking chestnut on bill and the black being slightly more extensive, and possibly in throat color

Some sources describe throat color as violet-blue in both of the last two forms.


Found from southern Mexico south to Panama and nearest part of Colombia

Locally common in parts of its range.


Formerly considered conspecific with Southern Emerald Toucanet under the name Emerald Toucanet. Gill and Donsker further split this species into Wagler's Toucanet, Emerald Toucanet, and Blue-throated Toucanet (caeruleogularis including maxilliaris and cognatus).


Subspecies virescens
Photo by Dave 2x
Tikal, Guatemala, November 2010

Clements recognizes 8 subspecies in four groups[2]:

  • Wagler's Toucanet:
    • A. p. wagleri - in Sierra Madre del Sur of south west Mexico (Guerrero and south-western Oaxaca)
  • Emerald Toucanet:
    • A. p. prasinus - in south east Mexico (Veracruz, adjacent San Luis Potosí and Oaxaca)
    • A. p. warneri - in the mountains of south east Mexico (Sierra de Los Tuxtlas in southern Veracruz)
    • A. p. virescens - southeastern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, western El Salvador, Honduras, and northern Nicaragua
    • A. p. volcanicus - in eastern El Salvador (Volcán San Miguel)
  • Blue-throated Toucanet:
    • A. p. caeruleogularis - Highlands of western Panama (Chiriquí to Coclé) (includes maxillaris according to IOC)
    • A. p. maxillaris - Highlands of Costa Rica and western Panama
  • Violet-throated Toucanet
    • A. p. cognatus - mountains of eastern Panama (Darién) and adjacent Colombia

Birdlife/HBWalive has the first three groups as separate species, and they merge A. p. maxillaris into A. p. caeruleogularis but keep this and the next as two distinct groups within one species.


Open woodland and humid forest.



Their diet consists mostly of fruit, but some insects, lizards, and bird eggs are also taken. Forages usually singly, sometimes in groups.


Breeding generally from March to July, locally starting in February and lasting to November. They nest in an unlined cavity in a tree; 3-4 white eggs are laid and incubated by both sexes for 14–15 days. Both parents care for the young which fledge after about 6 weeks.


  1. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliot, and J Sargatal, eds. 2002. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 7: Jacamars to Woodpeckers. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334375
  2. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  3. Gill, F and D Donsker (Eds). 2016. IOC World Bird Names (version 6.4). Available at http://www.worldbirdnames.org/.
  4. Winkler 2016
  5. HBWalive read April 2018

Recommended Citation

External Links