Toco Toucan

The Facts

  • Genus/Species: Ramphastos toco
  • Conservation Status: Not endangered
  • Location: Throughout Eastern South America, from Mexico to Argentina.

Toco Toucan
Toco Toucan

The Scoop

Colorful and Noisy

The toco toucan is a tropical American bird which likes to live in open areas, lowland rainforests and palm groves of South America. It is a colorful bird that is black with an orange and bright blue patch around its eyes, a white throat and a huge bright orange colored beak. Its beak looks heavy but is actually very light, as it is a honeycomb of bone that contains a lot of air. The toco toucan has strong feet and toes, and its wide tail helps it to keep its balance on trees.   

The toco toucan is the largest among the toucans. It is about two feet long, but weighs only between ten to seventeen ounces. It feeds on fruits, seeds, insects and spiders. It steals eggs and baby birds and hunts lizards too. Toco toucans live in pairs or groups called flocks and make their nests in the holes of trees. They are noisy birds who love to talk to each other using toad-like sounds. 

There are areas of South and Central America where some toucan species are rare due to hunting for food, ornamental feathers, and trophy. Toco toucans are also popular as pets because of the beautiful bright coloring. However, the toco toucan is not endangered because it is able to adapt to man and other habitats, even though rainforests, their homes, are being destroyed more and more.


Did You Know?

  • The toco toucan has a tongue like a feather, which it uses to catch food and flick down its throat.
  • The toco toucan has a loud frog like call which can be heard half a mile away.
  • When toucans sleep, they turn their head so that their long bill rests on their back and their tail is folded over their head. The bird becomes a ball of feathers.
  • These birds are poor flyers- they mostly hop around from tree to tree.


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