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Toucan toco, Ramphastos toco © F-G Grandin - MNHN

The toucan

The toco toucan, Ramphastos toco, is a bird characterised by its enormous curved beak which is very long, very wide, and generally orange-red with greenish edges.

Profile

Class, order and family :
Aves, Piciformes, Ramphastidae
Life span :
up to 20 years
Size & Weight :
60 - 66 cm and 540 g
Incubation period :
16 - 20 days, 2 - 4 eggs
Natural habitat :
forest, woodland savanna
Diet :
omnivore - fruit, seeds, insects
Native region :
tropical America
Statut UICN : 

Least Concern

Lifestyle

Unlike other birds which bathe on the ground, toucans do so high above in the trees, using puddles of rainwater which have collected in the hollows of large tree trunks.
When it moves, the toucan hops from branch to branch on its strong feet, it being difficult to fly with such a large beak.
Perfect for intimidating its rivals during courtship displays, the toucan uses its beak to pick fruit off of branches which are too narrow to support its weight. It delicately picks the fruit before jerking its head backwards and tossing it down the back of its throat.

Distinctive features

Its 20-centimetre long beak accounts for a third of its size. It is undoubtedly rather cumbersome, but its bony structure has holes in it, making the beak very light and strong.