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The Stunning Toco Toucan

Updated: May 9, 2022

toco Toucan

The Toco Toucan is a South American bird known for its massive, colourful beak, which is the largest in proportion to its body size of any bird. This species, which is found practically everywhere in the continent's rainforest, is the largest member of the toucan family and a popular attraction in zoos all over the world. When rainforests are destroyed, they can adapt to man-made habitats. This is a characteristic that has likely kept them safe from extinction.

Physical Attributes

Toco Toucans can grow up to 55–65 cm in length. The males are slightly heavier than females, and they are sexually dimorphic. Males weigh on average 7.23k, while females weigh on average 5.76k.

Almost the entire body is coated in black to dark bluish feathers, with the exception of the throat, which is white.

These wonderful birds have wings that are not designed for long-distance flight. The tail chord is 22–26 cm in length.

The eyes has a ring of blue skin around it, which is surrounded by an orange ring.

Bill of the Toco Toucan

The Tocos have colourful bills that help them blend in with the dense jungle. The beak is vivid orange in colour and measures around 8 inches long. This is over a third of the bird's total length. The beak, which is formed of the protein keratin, looks heavy but it is actually quite light, the structure of the beak allows for the incorporation of many air pockets, resulting in a very low mass.

The Toucan bills help regulate the temperature of the body by changing blood flow to the beak, according to some studies. The more blood that circulates, the more heat is released, which is why these birds keep their bodies warm by tucking their beaks under their rear feathers.

The bill's size and shape have also made it easier for them to catch animals as well as peel and pick fruits. As a result, they are able to reach items that are out of reach for smaller species. Their bill makes up nearly a quarter of their total body weight.

This is a keel-billed toucan

Toco Toucan Behaviour

Toco toucans are extremely social and gregarious, spending the most of their time in couples or flocks of roughly six individuals. They take turns using their bills to wipe each other's bodies. Because of the constant shift in available fruits in their geographical area, toucans are highly migratory.

These birds communicate by a variety of deep, coarse, but consistent sound producing techniques. They would also use a rattling sound to communicate with one another, which is a very typical activity. As a form of aural communication, the birds would clack their bills together. Chemical, tactile, and optical inputs can also be used to perceive their surroundings.

These birds alternate between gliding and fast flaps of their rounded, relatively small wings during flying. They are not great flyers and frequently hop or walk across tree branches to acquire their food. The birds peck the fruits with their big bills and eat them.

Life Cycle and Reproduction

These birds are monogamous and only breed once a year, during the spring breeding season. During mating, either the female or the male collects fruit with its bill to start a fruit throw with their potential partner. The male bird engages in sexual intercourse with the female after a successful courtship ritual.

Seasonally, these Toucans construct their nests. The date of their nesting, on the other hand, varies by region. The toco parents hollow out and modify the nests they obtain from other kinds of birds, such as woodpeckers, to make them more spacious before breeding.

Every year, they usually lay a clutch of two to five eggs. Both the father and the mother toucans nurture the eggs for 16-20 days. Both parents continue to look after the juveniles after the chicks hatch. The hatchlings are defenceless and bare-skinned until they are about 6 to 8 weeks old, at which point they begin their first fledging. The young ones are born with a drab tint and a considerably smaller beak, which develops as their physical development progresses. Both males and females reach sexual or reproductive maturity between the ages of 3 and 4.

Toco Toucan Pin


Toco toucans live for an average of 20 years in the wild, but they can live for up to 26 years. In captivity, however, their longevity is reduced to around 18 years.

Toco Toucan Habitat: Where Do They Live?

The Tocos live largely in the rainforest ecosystem, high above on top of the trees. A small group of individuals from the species would reside in a single hollow.

The bill's size and shape have also made it easier for them to catch animals as well as peel and pick fruits. As a result, they are able to reach items that are out of reach for smaller species. Their bill makes up nearly a quarter of their total body weight.

Toco toucans can be found in a number of nations in South America, primarily in the central and eastern sections of the continent, such as Brazil, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, Bolivia, and Argentina.

Feeding Habits

While toucans are lovely and entertaining, they are not harmless and are known for raiding other birds' nests and consuming their eggs and nestlings. Lizards, frogs, and other tiny invertebrates are also eaten.

Toucans are technically omnivores because they eat both meat and fruit, which comes in the form of arthropods and invertebrates. Fruit, on the other hand, makes up the vast majority of their diet.

The Toco toucan, for example, eats figs, oranges, guavas, peppers, and a variety of other exotic tropical fruits. In one research, the White-Throated toucan's stomach included 87 percent fruits and the rest was primarily arthropods.

Toucans eat mostly fruits, though some have been detected with minor amounts of vegetable stuff in their stomachs. Figs, oranges, guavas, and peppers are among their favourite foods, but the Emerald toucanet's diet includes 113 different plant species!

Some toucans rely heavily on the fruits of Cecropia trees and palm species like Oenocarpus bacaba. Toucans are important in the dispersal of fruit tree seeds. They don't ingest seeds because they can't digest them, although they do drop them while feeding.

toucan in a tree


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