Toucan Bird Information

Written by kimelia sachs
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Toucan Bird Information
The toucan's bill looks more dangerous than it actually is. (toucan image by Adrian Hillman from Fotolia.com)

Toucan birds are exotic, mysterious and unique creatures of nature. Part of the Ramphastidae family, whose native habitat is South America, the most popular toucans have large black bodies, white faces and banana-shaped bills. Some of the lesser known species of toucans have red, yellow, orange, green and blue plumage. The most popular toucan is the toco toucan, or Ramphastos toco, as many are homed in zoos across the world. Their bills are very light but extremely strong. In the wild, toucans live to be about 20 years old.

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Identification

The large, unusual bill is the toucan's most prominent feature, measuring at about 7 inches long. Depending upon the species, the colour of the bill will vary but it can range from being yellowish-orange to reddish in colour. Male toucans are larger than females, but other than this difference in size, the sexes look similar. Toucans stand about 2 feet tall and weight about 20 oz./half a kilo.

Habitat

Toucans are native to Latin America. They live in open habitats, including woodlands and other areas with scattered trees in coastal rainforests of Brazil and forests of Columbia. They can survive at elevations of 9,000 feet. In the wild, they live in flocks of about six and nest in tree holes.

Facts

There are several species of the bird with at least one species in every country in Latin America, according to Emerald Forest Birds. In the wild, toucans are frugivorous, or fruit eaters, for most of their lives but they have been known to eat insects and small lizards. Toucans don't sing; they make loud, croaking and click-clack sounds.

Misconceptions

Many people think the toucan bill is something to be feared but, in reality, it is quite harmless. In this case, its looks are far worse than its bite. Toucan beaks have intrigued and mystified scientists for years because there appears to be no scientific reason to have them, according to National Geographic. They are used primarily for finding food and while they might look formidable to predators, they are not.

Toucans as Pets

Toucans can adapt to being pets. They require plenty of room, toys and attention. Those considering buying a toucan need to keep in mind these birds make quite a bit of noise and they do not learn to speak, as parrots do. They are calm and enjoy being handled, according to Emerald Forest Birds.

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