In Guatemala's Rainforest, A Huff And A Croak

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A coatimundi walks through the Pantanal Matogrossense National Park in Brazil.

A coatimundi walks through the Pantanal Matogrossense National Park in Brazil. Staffan Widstrand/Corbis hide caption

toggle caption Staffan Widstrand/Corbis

In a walk through a Guatemalan rainforest, biologist Greg Budney focuses his ear on the calls of a keel-billed toucan and a mammal called the coatimundi.

The coatimundi is in the same family as the raccoon and is found mostly in Central and South America, although some live in the southwestern United States. It's a clever fellow that can fight off predators with its sharp claws and canine teeth. The coati, as it's often called, has a long snout and bear-like paws and will eat insects and other invertebrates, as well as fruit. It's a good climber and quite comfortable in the tree canopy. It's not listed as endangered but its forest habitat is disappearing in most parts of its range.

The keel-billed toucan is a big bird, almost 2 feet long. It's mostly black, with yellow on the face, throat and chest, and a patch of red feathers under the tail. It's a noisy bird and ungainly flier. It's recognizable not only from its bright coloration, but also its large bill — which is, in some cases, almost as big as the bird itself. Visitors to South American forests will recognize its chorus, which includes croaking, bugling and barking sounds.

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