Fiery-billed Aracaris, like other toucan species, have some unique mating and breeding habits largely connected to their social structures and ecological niches.
Courtship: Fiery-billed Aracaris engage in courtship behaviors that often involve the mutual exchange of food. This food-sharing ritual can be a form of pair bonding. The males may also perform displays using their brightly colored bills to attract females, engaging in movements that showcase their bill's size and vibrancy.
Breeding: These birds are cavity nesters, which means they look for holes in trees to lay their eggs rather than constructing typical nests. They often use natural cavities or those made by other birds such as woodpeckers, but they can also occupy artificial nest boxes if they are of suitable size and height.
Nesting: Once a pair has selected a suitable cavity, the female will lay between 2 to 4 eggs. Both males and females, and sometimes other group members, take turns incubating the eggs. This cooperative nesting can also include caring for the young after they hatch.
Parental Care: After the chicks hatch, parental care is a community effort. Fiery-billed Aracaris are known to exhibit cooperative breeding behaviors. Non-breeding birds from the same flock may assist in feeding the chicks and protecting the nest. This cooperative care increases the survival chances of the offspring and is a notable characteristic of the species' social behavior.
Fledging: The young aracaris remain in the nest for around 6 to 8 weeks before fledging. During this time, they are completely dependent on their parents and other adult helpers for food and protection. The adults feed the chicks a diet that can include regurgitated fruit and sometimes small animals.
Cyclicity: The mating season for Fiery-billed Aracaris typically aligns with the abundance of fruit in their habitat since this ensures plenty of food for both the adults and the growing chicks. This usually falls into the rainy season, which can vary slightly depending on the exact geographical location within their range in Costa Rica and Panama.
The conservation of old trees that can provide natural nesting cavities is important for the continued success of the Fiery-billed Aracari's breeding process. Habitat destruction can pose a threat to their breeding sites, so protecting their natural environment remains a priority.