Collared Aracari – Beautiful Creation

(Crooked) Collared Aracari Sign at Houston Zoo by Lee

“You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.” (Revelation 4:11 NKJV)

When we visited the Houston Zoo this last spring, we saw a sign for the Collared Aracari. We were able to photograph two other Aracaris, but this one was “off exhibit.” Not sure why, but I was very disappointed, because it is such a neat creation from the Lord.

While checking through some more of Ray Barlow’s photos, guess what I found? Some really great photos of a Collared Aracari Ray had taken, and “without bars” like we get at a zoo. So I trust you will enjoy some more photos from Raymond Barlow.

Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus) ©Raymond Barlow

Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus) ©Raymond Barlow

An aracari or araçari is any of the medium-sized toucans that, together with the saffron toucanet, make up the genus Pteroglossus. They belong to the Ramphastidae – Toucan Family. This Collared Aracari is not even one of the prettiest, but it is still very becoming.

Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus) ©Raymond Barlow

Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus) ©Raymond Barlow

They are brightly plumaged and have enormous, contrastingly patterned bills. These birds are residents in forests and woodlands in the Neotropics.

Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus) ©Raymond Barlow

Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus) ©Raymond Barlow

All the species of Aracari are basically fruit-eating, but will take insects and other small prey.

Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus) ©Raymond Barlow

Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus) ©Raymond Barlow

They are arboreal and nest in tree holes laying 2–4 white eggs. The Collared Aracari breeds from southern Mexico to Panama; also Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and Costa Rica.

And now for the best one of Ray’s photos for the Collared Aracari, at least to me:

Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus) ©Raymond Barlow

Collared Aracari (Pteroglossus torquatus) ©Raymond Barlow

That beak is not painted by none other than the Creative Hand of the Lord Jesus Christ.

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. (Colossians 1:16 NKJV)

Click on photos for larger view

Birds of the World – Ramphastidae – Toucan Family

Raymond Barlow’s Site

Ray’s Flickr Site

Collared Aracari – Wikipedia

Wordless Birds

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Meerkats at Houston Zoo

Meerkats at Houston Zoo by Lee

Meerkats at Houston Zoo by Lee

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Revelation 4:11 KJV)

I know this blog is about birds, but the “Plus” in the name lets me show other critters. Every since the Meerkats where on the Animal Planet TV series several years back, they have been another favorite of mine. (I have LOTS of favorites) The enclosure for the Meerkats at the Houston Zoo was one of the nicer ones we have seen. They seemed to be right comfortable with their surroundings.

We were able to watch them through a glass wall, which gave great views of them. They were created to blend in with their habitat and they do it quite well. What care the Lord provides for His critters and their protection.

From the Houston Zoo’s Meerkat page.

Meerkats belong to the mongoose family and are also known as slender-tailed mongooses. These animals have a tolerance for venom, which is why they can eat scorpions and venomous snakes.


  • Scientific Name: Suricata suricatta
  • Range: Angola, Botswana, South Africa, and Namibia
  • Status in the Wild: Not Threatened
  • Location in the Zoo: Natural Encounters
  • Cool Animal Fact A group of meerkats is called a “mob” or a “gang.”

Here are most of the photos taken of these cute Meerkats:

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3 KJV)

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More Vacation Blogs

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Wonga Dove and Taveta Weavers at Houston Zoo

Wonga Pigeon (Leucosarcia melanoleuca) Houston Zoo by Lee

Wonga Pigeon (Leucosarcia melanoleuca) Houston Zoo by Lee

And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. (Psalms 55:6 KJV)

Thought I’d share two videos and some photos of the Wonga Dove and the Taveta Weavers. They were in the Tropical Bird House which had enclosures with a glass in front of them and not a cage (YEAH!)

Tropical Bird House Houston Zoo by Lee

Tropical Bird House Houston Zoo by Lee

The Wonga Dove was calling and could be heard everywhere in the Bird House. One video is of the dove calling and the weavers next door. You will hear the sound of the dove even while videoing the weavers.

Taveta Weaver (Ploceus castaneiceps) Houston Zoo by Lee

Taveta Weaver (Ploceus castaneiceps) Houston Zoo by Lee

Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove: mine eyes fail with looking upward: O LORD, I am oppressed; undertake for me. (Isaiah 38:14 KJV)

The second video is of the Guira Cuckoos. Forgot to add it to that article. Houston Zoo – Vacation – Part 2-B

Here are the photos of these two species of birds:

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Houston Zoo’s Four-eyed Fish

Four-eyed Fish Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” (Genesis 1:20 NKJV)

I tried so hard to get a decent photo of the most amazing fish that I’ve ever heard of. Talk about a fantastic Creator. These fish have Four Eyes (actually pupils), thus they are called the Four-eyed Fish or Cuatro Ojos. They were at the Houston Zoo. (again a chain-link fence was in the way)

The best article found about these comes from Creation Ministries. “One of the strangest fish in the world is Anableps anableps,commonly called the ‘four-eyed fish’ because of the unique configuration of its eyes. These are large and bulging, like those of a frog, and are located on the top of its head so that it swims with its eyes half in and half out of the water.”

Four-eyed Fish ©WikiC

These eyes allow the fish to see insects and danger above the water, but also, they can watch below for food or danger. What a design!

Wikipedia has this diagram and explanation:

Four-eyed Fish diagram ©WikiC

Four-eyed Fish diagram ©WikiC

The Four-eyed fish eye. 1.Underwater retina 2.Lens 3. Air pupil 4. Tissue band 5. Iris 6. Underwater pupil 7. Air retina 8. Optic nerve

“Four-eyed fish have only two eyes, but the eyes are specially adapted for their surface-dwelling lifestyle. The eyes are positioned on the top of the head, and the fish floats at the water surface with only the lower half of each eye underwater. The two halves are divided by a band of tissue and the eye has two pupils, connected by part of the iris. The upper half of the eye is adapted for vision in air, the lower half for vision in water.  The lens of the eye also changes in thickness top to bottom to account for the difference in the refractive indices of air versus water.”

Just had to share these amazing fish. Trust you find these informative also.

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. (Isaiah 40:28 NKJV)

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Houston Zoo – Vacation – Part 2-B

You were shown the Blue-chinned Macaws and five different Turacos in Houston Zoo – Vacation – Part 2. Now to show you some more of the neat birds from the Lord’s Creative Hand.

The next set of birds were outside and most were still damp from the rain.

Grey-winged Trumpeter and Racquet-tailed Rollers Exhibit

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Grey-winged Trumpeter’s Beautiful Feathers Houston Zoo by Lee

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Racket-tailed Roller (Coracias spatulatus) Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

Racket-tailed Roller (Coracias spatulatus) Houston Zoo by Lee

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I kept trying to get a photo of the “racket-tail”, but he never really got in the right position. This was a new species to see for me.

Guira Cuckoo (Guira guira) Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

Guira Cuckoo (Guira guira) Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

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Chestnut-breasted Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus curvirostris) Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

Chestnut-breasted Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus curvirostris) Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

We have seen both the Cuckoos and the Malkohas before, but the Cuckoos were closer to us this time.

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Then a couple of favorites, the Kookabura, except this time it was a Blue-winged Kookabura, and a Micronesian Kingfisher.

Micronesian Kingfisher by Dan

Micronesian Kingfisher by Dan

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Blue-winged Kookaburra – What you looking at?  by Lee

Blue-winged Kookaburra (Dacelo leachii) Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Dan

Blue-winged Kookaburra (Dacelo leachii) Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Dan

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** Updated 6/27/15 **

Forgot about this video:

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Houston Zoo – Vacation – Part 2

From the last post, Birdwatching Along The Way – Vacation – Part 1, you know we arrived in Houston on Tuesday, the 5th. On Wednesday, we headed over to see their Houston Zoo. The weather was starting to turn “yukkie” and it was overcast. This made for making photos a challenge, at least for the outside exhibits. More about that weather later.

Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

The Houston Zoo is a very nice zoo with lots of the Creator’s Avian Friends to check out along with the other Critters from the Lord. Not sure where to begin, so, let’s start with the entrance. As you can tell, it had been raining, but stopped in time for us to visit.

Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

That fact, overcast skies, was the beginning of some of the challenges ahead. I have previously told of challenges with the fencing and cage material between us and the critters. Most of them are fine, but with birds, the bars or mesh can really get to be a challenge. Houston Zoo was loaded with those obstacles to keep me from getting any “perfect shots.” You photographers know exactly what I am referring to. Dan just gave me his “finished” photos that I can use and he was frustrated with how many didn’t turn out. Maybe I should just put all his up here and spare you the agony of seeing mine. :)

I informed him that many of the ones he isn’t going to let me use are better than most of mine. (He is a bit of a perfectionist.) Oh, the joys of a birdwatcher and a photographer marriage. Sure makes for some interesting discussions. Back to the Zoo.

Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) Sign Houston Zoo by Lee

Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) Sign Houston Zoo by Lee

When you enter the zoo, the first birds we saw were the Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis). We have seen Blue and Gold Macaws, but these are not seen as often in zoos. The challenge began.

Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) Houston Zoo by Lee

Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) Houston Zoo by Lee

When I tried to zoom in the fence was still in the way.

Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) Houston Zoo by Lee

Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) Houston Zoo by Lee

Never say never. Not the best, but you can tell that they are Blue-throated Macaws. Yeah!

Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) Houston Zoo by Lee

Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) Houston Zoo by Lee

Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) Houston Zoo by Lee

Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) Houston Zoo by Lee

Don’t worry, I’m not going to do that for every bird I tried to get photos of. If I did, this would be a loooonnngggg post. I took over 800 photos just at this zoo. Many of those are the signs like up above. I do that so I can try to put the right name on the right bird. I used to try to write them down, but it is much easier to take a photo. plus the signs are usually near the bird and time taken.

Livingstone’s Turaco (Tauraco livingstonii) Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

Mine (can see the bars on it’s chest):

Livingstone's Turaco (Tauraco livingstonii) Sign Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

Livingstone’s Turaco (Tauraco livingstonii) Sign Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

Now a good one by Dan:

Livingstone's Turaco (Tauraco livingstonii) Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Dan

Livingstone’s Turaco (Tauraco livingstonii) Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Dan

The Livingstone’s Turaco “is named after Charles Livingstone an English missionary that lived in Africa.” The Turaco Family has 23 species and the Houston Zoo has at least 5 species. In fact, I added at least four new birds to my Life List of All The Birds We Have Seen in this family:

Fischer’s Turaco (Tauraco fischeri) HZ, Great Blue Turaco (Corythaeola cristata) HZ, Livingstone’s Turaco (Tauraco livingstonii) HZ, Western Plantain-eater (Crinifer piscator) HZ, Red-crested Turaco (Tauraco erythrolophus) and the White-bellied Go-away-bird (Corythaixoides leucogaster) which we had seen at the National Aviary. (Will see some of these again later in the trip).

Fischer’s Turaco (Tauraco fischeri) Houston Zoo by Lee

White-bellied Go-away-bird (Corythaixoides leucogaster) Houston Zooby Lee

White-bellied Go-away-bird (Corythaixoides leucogaster) Houston Zooby Lee

The Go-away-bird reminds me of a verse:

But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” (Matthew 14:16 NKJV)

Western Plantain-eater (Crinifer piscator) Houston Zoo

Western Plantain-eater (Crinifer piscator) Houston Zoo

Ross's Turaco (Musophaga rossae) Houston Zoo by Lee

Ross’s Turaco (Musophaga rossae) Houston Zoo by Lee

Red-crested Turaco (Tauraco erythrolophus) by Dan

Red-crested Turaco (Tauraco erythrolophus) by Dan

Great Blue Turaco (Corythaeola cristata) Houston Zoo

Great Blue Turaco (Corythaeola cristata) Houston Zoo

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