View Full Version : Wednesday Trivia: Toucans

Star lover
February 27th, 2019, 08:20 AM
Known for their huge, colorful beaks, toucans are frugivores meaning their diet consists mainly of fruit, especially guava, figs, oranges and peppers found in South America where they live.

When they're courting, toucan couples will use their beaks to toss fruit to each other as a sign of affection.

There are about 40 different species of Toucans.

Toucans have a lifespan of up to 20 years in the wild. The oldest captive toucan lived to be 26 years old.

They range in size depending on the species. The smallest is the lettered aracari (Pteroglossus inscriptus), weighs approximately 130 grams *(4.6 ounces) and is about 29 centimeters (11.5 inches) long.


The largest is the toco toucan (Ramphastos toco), weighs approximately 680 grams (1.5 pounds) and is about 63 centimeters (29 inches) long.


Their large bill helps them keep cool in the hot environment in which they live. This adaptation is one of the best heat regulating systems in the entire animal kingdom. Arteries in their bills expand when the bird gets hot; and release heat.


Despite its substantial size, the beak weighs less than you may think. Composed of the protein keratin (same thing our hair and fingernails are made of), the structure of beak incorporates many air pockets allowing for a very low mass.

Bill has several purposes. It is used for gathering and peeling of the fruit, for intimidation of the predators and for attracting mating partners.

When toucans sleep, they tuck their beak under their feathers to keep them warm.

Toucans are diurnal and they produce many different calls. They are noisy in the late afternoon when other birds become inactive.

Toucans are among the noisiest of forest birds. Their songs often resemble croaking frogs. Toucans combine their extensive vocal calls with tapping and clattering sounds from their bill. Many toucan species make barking, croaking, and growling sounds, and mountain toucans make braying sounds like those of a donkey.

They spend their lives high in the rain forest canopy seldom making trips to the forest floor.

Life is not all fruit and play for toucans. Predators to watch out for include forest eagles, hawks, and owls; boas, jaguars, margays and weasels, often invade toucan nests. Their enormous bill is useless in defending against predators and, in fact, attracts humans to catch them for the pet trade.

Toucans build their nest in tree hollows, created by other animals such as woodpeckers; generally in the rainforest canopy.


Although most toucans live in groups, it is believed that they are monogamous, at least during the breeding season and while rearing young.

Breeding occurs during the spring. Then, the female lays 1*to 5*shiny white eggs deep in a tree cavity; both the male and female incubate the eggs for 15 to 18 days, depending on the species.


Toucans are born very small and do not reach their full size for many months. During this time both the mother and father protect it from predators.


While often compared to hornbills, toucans are close relatives of the woodpecker.


February 27th, 2019, 09:05 AM
Fascinating! I had no idea they lived in groups. It would be interesting to hear their chatter, maybe I’ll see if I can google it. Thanks Anita!

February 27th, 2019, 09:09 AM
My mother in law used to have one.

February 27th, 2019, 03:34 PM
Beautiful birds. Would love to hear them singing in the treetops.