Toco Toucan

Toco Toucan

(Ramphastos toco)

Toco ToucanToucan is the Brazilian name for a bird of the tropical American family Ramphastidae, characterized by their huge but light beaks. There are 37 species of these birds ranging from Mexico to Argentina. Toucans are found only in the Western Hemisphere. These peculiar birds belong to the order Piciformes, all of whose members have feet with the first and fourth toes reversed, and all of which are cavity nesters.

The Toco Toucan (Ramphastos toco) frequents the rain-forests from Guiana to Bolivia and northern Argentina. It is 25 inches long and is the largest of the Toucans. The beak, 8 inches long and 3 inches high at the base, is deep orange with a large black spot near the tip. The eye is surrounded by a bare orange space; the plumage is black except for the white throat, edged beneath with red. The tail is nearly square.

The Toco toucan eats mainly fruit and uses its large bill as a tool for picking it. It also feeds on seeds, spiders, insects, eggs and an occasional lizard or bird. They nest in cavities high in forest trees. The eggs are pure white and the young, hatching naked and blind after 16-18 days, remain up to six weeks in the nest, cared for by both parents.When it sleeps, a Toucan turns its head so that its long bill rests on its back, then folds its long tail neatly over it.

Toucans often gather in large groups and chatter loudly and noisily, their calls being synchronized with the fast upward swings of their bills.

For more information on the Toucan, visit The Emerald Forest Bird Gardens.