If you see a bird with an extremely large bill that is also incredibly attractive, it is probably a toucan. Unfortunately, toucans are hard to find in most urban areas; however, if you live somewhere near their habitat, you might be lucky enough to have a chance to witness their beauty.
It is not hard to recognize a toucan because, unlike other birds, toucans have a unique body-to-bill ratio, making them a standout amongst all. They are mostly found on trees hopping from one tree to another.
Toucan species are considered tropical birds and are mostly witnessed on high tropical rainforest canopies of south and central America. They can be found in countries including Mexico, Bolivia, and Argentina. However, most of the Toucan species live in lowland rainforests.
Toucans use their bills for several purposes. They use it for peeling the fruits they forage and sometimes for gathering bulk food supply. They may also use these bills for attracting a partner for mating. Their bill size affects the chances of winning a mate. Toucans sometimes also use their bills to intimidate their enemies.
There are many species of toucans that are distributed widely across different regions. However, there is no such defined region that toucans inhabit.
These majestic birds can survive in different habitats like savannas and lowland forests. However, toucans mostly prefer living in tropical rainforests, and about 40 other species of toucans are found there.
These species are distributed in various parts of South America, Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Toucans mostly prefer to live in primary forests.
However, they do enter secondary forests only to get their food supplies or forage. Therefore, these beautiful birds are mostly limited to forests that have hollow trees for them to inhabit.
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The only species of toucans that inhabit outside forests is the Toco Toucan. Toco toucans are found in savannahs that have open woodlands and some forest patches as well. Toco toucans are also one of the most famous and beautiful toucan species.
Toucans do not only have large bills, but they also have tongues the same size as the bill. They mostly use their tongue to taste different food; however, sometimes, their tongue helps catch various insects for their meal.
Although many different species of toucans are found throughout America, Toco Toucans are specifically native to South America. They are widely distributed throughout the continent, along with some islands of the Caribbean.
In addition, many of the Toco Toucans can also be seen in countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, French Guiana, Peru, Suriname, and Paraguay.
However, keel-billed toucans are specifically native to the tropical jungles of southern Mexico and Colombia.
Another very famous species of Toucan is the Channel-billed Toucan, and they are found in the Caribbean Islands of Trinidad. They are also seen in tropical South America. At the same time, the yellow-throated toucans can be found in Northern and Central South America.
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Toucans are omnivores and can eat insects and fruits. Although they mostly prefer eating fruits and are commonly referred to as frugivores, they also munch on the flesh of young birds, lizards, and insects. Moreover, toucans can be found eating eggs, berries, and nuts as well.
Toucans are usually found in a flock of more than 22 birds. They are very social and noisy whenever they are together in a flock. Toucans are also believed to be monogamous throughout their breeding season.
Although there are forty different species of toucans, they all prefer living in a similar kind of habitat. These species are primarily different in their appearances; however, they are pretty similar in their behaviors.
Almost all of the toucans love living in rainforests, precisely where there is plenty of rainfall.
However, some of the toucan species choose to live in areas surrounding mountains. Those toucans that live in the rainforest prefer inhabiting the canopies. They are always found on the top of the trees, specifically the tallest ones.
Such toucans can also spend their whole life on the canopies as there is a plentiful supply of food at the canopies, and they don’t need to forage.
Baby toucans are born with their eyes closed and naked skin with no feathers at all. These tiny hatchlings are entirely dependent on their parents through their initial weeks. After about three weeks of their growth, they begin to open their eyes and grow some feathers. The bill develops after the growth of feathers.
Toco toucans are the largest amongst their species, and they measure about twenty-five inches along with a neon-colored beak of about eight inches. However, despite the large size of their beak, the weight of the beak is significantly less due to the presence of little air holes in it.
Although almost all the wild toucans spend their lives on the top of the tropical rainforest trees, they are not explicitly bound to that particular kind of habitat.
Toucans are very accommodating and can well adjust to various habitats. However, even though toucans spend their whole lives on tall trees, they are not good at flying and only make floppy jumps.
Toucans mostly choose to live in hollow-bark trees that have small space for them to accommodate. However, toucans can be kept in places other than tropical rainforests, and they will thrive.
A couple of species of toucans are commonly sold in the market as pets and can be tamed to prove a wonderful pet.
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Toucans, unlike many other birds, are not highly vulnerable to rainforest destruction. As most of the toucan species are well accommodated in other different types of habitats other than tropical rainforests, the destruction of rainforests does not pose an immediate threat to their existence or to the population of these birds. Consequently, to this date, they are not a part of the ‘concerned list’ for IUCN.
Toucans have a very firm and strong grip on the treetops, which prevents them from falling. They have claws through which they hold tight along with curved toes that provide stability on tree branches. However, if they have to change positions, they will jump to different branches and get there.
You might not be surprised to find out that toucans are resident birds and do not migrate to other areas. It may be good news for you if you live in a location near them.
These gorgeous-looking large-billed birds are very social with their flock and are mostly in groups. Moreover, they are monogamous and are usually found with their other half.
They exhibit their monogamy, especially during the breeding season when they are laying eggs. However, throughout the year, they all move along with the flock in selective areas only.
Moreover, they have a poor flying capability; they usually prefer not to go far from their nests. Therefore, they are mostly found hopping from one tree to another due to this reason.
Just like humans, toucans are also very competitive with each other. Toucans can be seen fighting a fellow toucan. They will wrestle with bills, and the winning bird will be the dominating bird in the flock.
The first Toucan that was captivated in a zoo cage was a keel-billed species of toucans in 1920. By this date, toucans have evolved and are pretty sociable with human visitors. As a result, more species of toucans are now kept in zoos.
You might not be surprised to hear that this large-sized bird is very territorial by nature. Toucans are very sensitive about their defined spaces.
They prefer having their own domain even if they are living in flocks or shared habitats.
You may also find some toucans fighting for space, eventually hurting one another in the process. In addition, most toucans fight for their breeding pair and not the territory or area. However, they can be aggressive at times.
If they are kept in captivity, they will require sufficient space in the cage; otherwise, it can become a problem for the captivator.
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Not only are the large beaks of toucans amazing, but they are also beneficial for the temperature regulation of their body. They regulate their body temperature with the help of their beaks by increasing or decreasing blood circulation through the beak. Thus, excessive body heat can be eliminated when blood passes through the bills.
Toucans do not mate multiple times a year because they only mate once a year. Female toucans may lay only 2-4 eggs in their nests, and both parents will remain there participating in the incubation of those eggs. The incubation period lasts about 20 days. Their parental care will continue even after the hatching of eggs until the hatchling doesn't grow its bill.
Absolutely! Toucans are very quick at adapting to the new environment. They could have been extinct long ago if they didn’t evolve or adapt to survive without forests.
Even after massive deforestation throughout the world, toucans managed to be conserved without going rare or extinct. However, if toucans are kept in a cage, they may need sufficient space for living.
The wings of the captivated toucans are often clipped or chipped so that they don’t fly away when on the loose. However, toucans, in general, have small wings, and they cannot take long flights.
They must remain covered during the night so that they can have carefree and secure sleep throughout.
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Different species of toucans have different approaches for reproducing. However, they are similar when it comes to development rate and behavior. Where some species may only lay one egg, others can lay up to five eggs. Their eggs may hatch in about two weeks.
Toucans are the kind of birds that are famous for living on the highest peaks of tropical rainforests. Most of their species are observed hopping near the canopies of the tallest trees found in their habitats.
Due to their large-sized bill and mesmerizingly attractive colors, they are pretty easy to sight. However, they are barely seen on the bottom of the trees or on the ground, but despite this fact, some species can be spotted in lowland rainforests, though this is a very rare occurrence.
They are widely distributed around South America, Central America, Mexico, Bolivia, Argentina, and the Caribbean. Hopefully, reading this blog was helpful for you to know more about where do toucans live.
If you wish to know further about Toucans, read this super interesting post to learn whether toucans make good pets or not – we bet you would love the knowledge.
My name is Inigo and I'm the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I've become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I've learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!
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