Toucans are one of the recognizable birds in the Amazon. In Kabalebo the Red-billed Toucan is seen on a daily basis. Whether you are in a boat or on a hiking trail, even when you are close to the lodge, they are always present. For me they are also beautiful colorful and fascinating birds, but even beautiful birds have a 'dark side'.
The Red-billed Toucan is an often seen resident close to the lodge of Kabalebo. Most of the time I have seen them in pairs, but sometimes you can also meet solo travelers. From time to time they treat us with their 'unique' serenade, which by the way sounds more like a puppy call.
You can recognize the Red-billed Toucan by its white chest and the yellow-stripe across its upper mandible. They are seen as colorful restless birds and are also one of the most seek after bird by both photographers and visitors.
Even though their look doesn't say so, Red-billed Toucans can also be seen as birds of prey since they merciless destroy nests of both tanagers and flycatchers. I have seen countless times how these small birds bravely try to protect the next generation, sometimes they succeed …. sometimes they fail.
Even if toucans fail in snatching away a hatchling from its parents' nest or in devouring some tiny eggs, they never bow down their head. They never give up. For they continue to strike until they succeed.
A couple of days ago we saw some toucans hopping restlessly in the mope tree. At first sight an onlooker would think that they were interested in feasting upon the plums which were hanging in abundance. But a closer look revealed that they were actually aiming at a Veined Tree Frog. One that always serenade us when darkness occurs. It was an unexpected surprise for both us and the Veined Tree Frog.
In a split second these 'adorable' toucans transformed into heartless emotionless predators. So it seems … that is how life goes or ends. As the Veined Tree Frog tried with all its might to escape, it didn't prevail over its conquerors. And before we all could realize that this was the end of one's life, the toucans flew off heading into another tree. Probably feasting upon this unfortunate little frog.
Nature can sometimes be harsh, but that is how life is. One sacrifice for another species to survive one more day.