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Toucans are tropical birds native to Central America, South America and The Caribbean. They are best known for their very large and colorful bills. The Fruit Loops cereal mascot who says "follow your nose!" is a Toucan, Toucan Sam to be exact and the rendition is pretty close. There are over 40 different species under Toucan, their sizes and look may very, but their lives are very much similar. Although the destruction of rainforests everywhere threaten other species to near extinction, the Toucan remains a thriving fixture of their wildlife scene. This is due to their ability to adapt to different environments and food sources. Because of their coloring, they enjoy being well camouflaged from potential predators which include other big birds, big cats and sometimes rats and snakes although, these animals more often enjoy Toucan eggs than Toucans.
Keel Billed Toucan Chicks
Male Keel Billed Toucan
Keel Billed Toucan Chicks
Toco Toucan Baby
Types of Toucans
- Chestnut-mandibled Toucan (Rhamphastos swainsonii)
- Crimson Rump Toucanet (Aulachorynchus haematopygus)
- Cuvier's Toucan (Rhamphastos cuvieri)
- Emerald Toucanet (Aulacorhynchus prasinus)
- Guyana Toucanet (Selenidera culik)
- Keel-billed Toucan (Rhamphastos sulfuratus)
- Red-billed Toucan (Rhamphastos tucanus)
- Spot-billed Toucanet (Selenidera maculirostris)
- Toco Toucan (Rhamphastos toco)
Toucan Physical Characteristics
Having small wings does not allow a Toucan to fly very far, but that's not a necessity for the bird who hops around the forest floor looking for food. They have strong claws that allow them to perch on branches and the largest bills in the world when considering the ratio of bill to body. Arteries within the bill expand when the bird gets too hot to release heat, one of the best built-in biological AC units of the animal kingdom. The bill is made of keratin, a very lightweight material so it is easy to move about with it, but it's not very strong so it is not considered good protection against predators. The shape and size of it however, make it easily to reach hanging fruit and food others would not be able to get. Due to its beauty, the Toucan is captured frequently to be sold as pets.
In nests high in trees, the female Toucan will lay about 3 eggs and the male will assist in caring for the egg and young once hatched. The Toucan is born quite small and with a small beak so its parent's assistance is required to protect and feed it for its first few months.
What do Toucans Eat?
Toucans eat both animals and plants, mainly fruit which is abundant where they reside. Their protein comes from insects, nuts, eggs, reptiles, and other small animals. When eating the Toucan is usually solitary, but they do inhabit spaces with groups of 6 or 7 birds.
Toucans in Captivity
The most sought after Toucan is the Toco Toucan, the largest. In captivity, any Toucan can be extremely sensitive. Its dietary needs are extremely important to its health and if not trained properly to embrace its life with humans can be quite aggressive in captivity. This shouldn't deter a potential owner from putting in the effort, though. With special care taken to address these needs, the Toucan can be a great addition to the family.
Toucans as Pets
Their diet in captivity includes soft pellets and fruits they'd likely eat in their native habitats. Their diets must be low in iron due to a condition that causes them to store too much and never eat citrus fruits which are too high in vitamin C.
Caring for your Toucan can be fun. They enjoy taking baths and you're encouraged to give them baths frequently. In captivity, their lives can span anywhere from 6 to 25 years. The better they are cared for and their lifestyle mimics what theirs would be in the wild, the better your results with their health and behaviors.