Toucan Facts and Information

Toucan Facts
  • Area: South America
  • Habitat: Tropical and subtropical forests
  • Food: Fruits, insects
  • Size: 29cm – 63cm (11.5in – 29in)
  • Wing opening: 50cm – 119cm (20in – 47in)
  • Weight: 130g – 680g (4.6oz – 24oz)
  • Lives in: Flocks
  • Speed: 64km/h (39mph)
  • Colors: Orange, white, black
  • Predators: prey birds, large cats
  • Multiplication: 3 – 4 eggs
  • Life expectancy: 12 to 20 years
  • Special features: large, colorful, and strong beak

Appreciated for its unique appearance, the symbol bird of Belize is sociable and loving, ideal, therefore, for children. With colorful plumage, the Toucan bird is noted, however, especially due to the large beak. Find out more about the Toucan bird.

Where can you find the Toucan bird?

The Toucan bird is part of the Ramphastidae family, and its natural habitat is in areas such as southern Mexico, Central, and South America, and the Caribbean Islands region. They can be found in tropical and subtropical areas in the forests of South America, specifically in Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, and Bolivia.

The normal habitat of Toucan lies in low-altitude rainforests, although there are some species that live in more temperate environments, such as mountain ranges or altitudes that can reach up to 3.000 meters above sea level.

Some of the species are at risk of extinction due to human activity, so having a toucan at home can be somewhat complicated.

The family consists of five genera, Andigena, Aulacorhynchus, Pteroglossus, Ramphastos, Selenidera, and forty different species. The name derives from Tupi the word Tukana in Portuguese.

What does a Toucan bird eat?

The main food of today’s Toucans is based on fruit. But if given the opportunity, they turn out to be omnivores.

It also eats insects, lizards, and other small animals. The Toucans held as pets hunted insects and it was observed that they could live on a diet consisting only of insects. They are also known for robbing eggs from smaller nests. They probably provide an important addition of protein to their diet. In the wild, their main food remains fruit, having an important role in spreading the seeds of the trees.

When eating fruit, the toucan heads back to slide the fruit down the throat until they swallow it.

You might also like my articles with interesting facts about fire salamanders, red kangaroos, or phytophagous birds.

Toucans don’t drink water. Only a couple of species have been seen drinking water, but those are rare occasions. They take their water from fruit consumption.

Some Toucan features

The smallest Toucan bird is the Lettered Aracari, it is 29cm long and weighs 130g. The largest is the Toco Toucan which has a weight of almost 700g, and a length of 63cm.

Toucan in NatureThe body of the toucan is smaller than that of the crow. The tail is round and varies in length, it can reach the full length of the body in some species. The neck is short and thin.

The wings are short because they are birds that fly in the forest for short distances. The legs are strong and end with claws.

Most toucans do not have sexual dimorphism, the Selenidera genus being the only exception.

Female beaks are usually shorter and straighter. The strong and colorful beak in some large species is longer than half the body of the bird, which is very much.

Despite its size, it is very light composed of bone layers and keratin. It is believed that the toucans originally had straight beaks and were carnivores, feeding on fish and other living things. Today, they eat fruit.

Researchers have noticed that the beak also has a thermoregulation role, which means that in some cases its size also creates some advantages. The tongue of a toucan can be 14-15cm.

Toucans fly scattered one after another rather than compact like sparrows or parrots. They prefer to stay at the top of the trees where they jump from one branch to another.

They bathe in the baths formed after the rain and make specific noises. The toucan bird offers food to its companions and shows affection. Toucans are playful birds and often engage in different games.

The colors of a toucan

Each species of toucan has distinct colors and color placement so that they can recognize each other.

The tail feathers are short and rigid.

The toucans are mostly bright black in color.

Different species are decorated with other colors, including white, orange, red, green, and yellow.

The common names of many species of toucan birds are descriptions of the colors on the beak.

How long does a toucan live?

Although there are different species, they all seem to have the same life expectancy of 20 years. Although there are some specimens that have surpassed it, almost none reached 30 years.

However, despite the fact that their diet is not at all complicated when living in captivity, they usually do not exceed 18 years of life, because they suffer from hemochromatosis due to a strong diet of iron instead of the fruits they need to live.

Reproduction in toucan birds

The toucans make their nests in the trees around which they fly daily. They do not make the nests themselves; they prefer the hollows of woodpeckers or other birds. The toucan’s beak is not for digging hollows.

The female lays 2-4 white eggs in its nest. After 16 days of incubation, the offspring hatch. At birth, the babies are completely naked. Both parents take care of the baby by the age of 8 weeks. The little toucans will be able to fly out of the nest after 40-45 days.

Toucans are birds that do not migrate, they can be seen in pairs or in small groups.

Who hunts a toucan?

Because the toucans remain mostly high in the sky, they don’t have many natural predators, but here are the ones who do hunt them.

  1. Jaguars and other large cats are natural predators of toucans.
  2. Eagles, hawks, and owls are also toucan predators.
  3. Humans catch wild toucans for trade in exotic birds, so they can be considered unnatural predators.

The toucans use their loud voices to warn others and try to scare the predator.

Behavior in captivity

Not many human beings choose to have a toucan at home, despite its great fame. It is a sedentary bird that lives in a single area for almost its entire life. Few migrate in search of another place, which makes them adapt very well to the area in which they have lived since birth.

Although it is not a bird that presents many problems when in contact with a man if it is captured while it’s in its natural environment, it would not be strange at all for it to become aggressive.

Toucan birds are very affectionate and friendly when they already have a relationship with a human, and much more with other birds.

As a rule, they do not usually get along with other birds that are in the same cage, so it is best to put them in a separate cage.


  • The toucan uses its huge beak to cool off.
  • Species living in the same habitat have distinct sound calls so that they can recognize each other.
  • Unlike many other types of birds, toucans do not migrate.
  • A characteristic of this bird, spread in the neotropical forests from Mexico to Argentina, is the enormous, tall beak, compressed laterally. Sometimes it is long as almost the body, characteristically found in many of the 54 species of toucans on the planet.
  • They are endangered because humans destroy the habitat of the birds and hunt them for their beaks and feathers, or simply for food.
  • Most toucan females make a single nest in the hollows of trees, using their beaks to build inside with a paste made of mud, twigs, chewing wood fiber, and tree bark. They leave only a narrow crack to keep away the predators, but large enough for the male to sneak in the food.
  • A male must bring the female varied food from fruits, insects, snakes, lizards, giant scorpions, bats, and eggs. If the male always brings the same food, the female throws it back.
  • The toucans have magnificent beaks, more than 15 cm long, which they use as forceps to catch and crush insects, which they hunt with great skill. Beaks are also useful for looking for fruit among the branches with thick leaves or to keep venomous snakes away.

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