Toucan - a bird with a large beak


The bird got its unusual name from the words - "Toko", "tokano". That is how she screams in the jungle.

Some interesting facts:

  • the toucan not only shouts out its words, but also perfectly parodies the voices of tropical birds,
  • With its big beak, the toucan snaps loudly, you need to get used to such a sound in tropical forests
  • the behavior of the bird is noisy accompanied by constant shrill cries, which can be heard for several kilometers,
  • living in captivity, loves a long time to communicate with a person, but is not able to imitate speech.

The toucan is immediately recognizable by its long, massive beak. It seems heavy, but consists of empty cavities, so it weighs almost nothing. At the same time, keratin betrays beak strength.

Toucan - interesting facts:

  1. The beak for a toucan works like an air conditioner - in the heat, excess heat is collected in the cavities of the beak. In cold weather, the beak helps to keep warm.
  2. By beak, you can determine the age of tropical woodpecker. Nestlings have a beak with a long lower part. It helps them to better catch the food that their parents throw up for them.
  3. Along the edges of the beak, there are notches that look like saw teeth. They help the toucan get food.
  4. The unique shape of the beak and tongue is ideally suited for cracking the fruit of the passion fruit and figs. It is also convenient for birds to feed together - one tears off the berry and throws up, the other catches and eats.
  5. Nature has provided a comfortable position for sleeping with a bulky beak. The bird rotates 180 degrees, the beak is laid on the back between the wings. The tail presses to the stomach, wraps its wings, falls asleep in such a cozy pose.

The bird never uses such a formidable beak as a weapon against a person, but the bird can use it to protect it, so you need to be careful.


Toucans are active during the day, sleep at night, rarely come across the surface of the earth, move along branches of trees. They live in hollows, but they don’t know how to gouge them with their beak, therefore they chase away some small animals or birds. Sometimes they can settle in termitaries or on the high banks of the river.

Interesting facts about tropical woodpeckers:

  1. Birds can live singly, in pairs, in flocks. In one hollow can live several toucans. They are friendly, help their relatives.
  2. When the enemy appears, the birds make an incredible noise. he prefers to leave, so as not to hear them.
  3. Wood boas, birds of prey, wild cats are enemies for toucans. Natural caution, collective revenue, disguise save the birds from them.
  4. The local population catches them while hunting for the sake of tasty, fatty meat, beautiful plumage, which is used to make ritual objects.

Toucans are curious, quick-witted, but very noisy birds.

Bird Diet

This is an omnivorous bird, but she likes more passion fruit, banana, figs. Interestingly toucan eats. Throw the fruit up with its beak, then catches and swallows whole.

  1. The toucan is not a predator, but on occasion lizards, spiders, insects, eggs of other birds, even their chicks, are eaten.
  2. In order to have a drink, he has to throw his head back after each sip.
  3. Toucan is not picky about food. If he is kept at home, he begins to eat cereals from cereals, vegetables, dry dog ​​food. Can eat bread, meat, eggs, fish.

Such a beautiful bird is hard to forget. Her outfit looks like a concert costume. The black tail coat of the whole body and the bright coloring of the head of a yellow, orange, blue, green shade adorn only the toucan - the tropical woodpecker of the American jungle.


Toucans are large birds, the size of which is approximately 40-60 cm, depending on the type and sex of the bird.

Their bodies are large and rather massive, having an almost oval shape. The head is also oval and rather large, turning into a strong and strong, far from thin and not elegant neck.

The main feature of these birds is a huge beak, the size of which can be almost equal to the length of the body. True, in some species it is much smaller: it barely exceeds the size of the head.

The toucan's eyes are rather large, rounded and very expressive for birds. Eye color may be black or lighter, for example, dark brown.

The tail of most species is short and rather wide, with well-developed large, as a rule, black feathers. However, there are also types of toucans with rather long tails.

The wings are not long and not too strong, because of what toucans cannot be called first-class flyers. However, in the dense tropical forest where these birds live, they do not need to make long flights, you just need to be able to flip from branch to branch and move from one tree to another.

The legs, as a rule, are of a bluish tint, strong enough and powerful enough to hold the massive body of a bird on a branch. Small chicks have a special heel callosity, with which they are held in the nest.

The main color of their plumage is black, complemented by large and very contrasting spots of other colors, such as white, yellow or cream. Even the beak of a toucan is colored very very brightly: in some species of these birds only five different shades can be counted on only one beak.

As a rule, colored spots on the body of a toucan are arranged as follows:

  • The main background of plumage is coal black. This color is painted the upper part of the head, almost the entire body and tail of the bird. However, there are also species whose main color of the plumage is not quite black, but rather, it has a tint of a different shade, for example, chestnut.
  • The lower part of the head, as well as the throat and chest, are colored in a lighter contrasting color: as a rule, white or yellow, of varying intensity: from pale lemon or creamy yellow to saturated saffron and yellow-orange.
  • Nadhvoste and undertail can also be painted very brightly: in white, red, orange or another contrasting shade.
  • There are also often bright spots around the eyes, which contrast with both the main black background and the bright pattern on the lower part of the head, throat and upper chest.
  • The legs of most types of toucans have a bluish-blue tint, the claws are also bluish.
  • The eyes of these birds are black or brownish.
  • Thin skin around the eyes can be painted in the brightest shades of blue, sky-blue, bright green, orange-yellow or reddish.
  • The color of the beak in different species can be both dark and lighter and very bright. But even on the black beaks of these birds there are spots of bluish, yellow or orange shades.

It is interesting! The outlines of the body of toucans, their massive torso, large head, topped with a huge powerful beak and a shortened tail, together with a very bright and contrasting coloring of the plumage, give these birds an unusual and even grotesque appearance. However, it must be admitted that toucans are beautiful, albeit in their own way.

Behavior, lifestyle

Toucans for their bright appearance and cheerful disposition, jokingly called "Amazonian clowns." These birds prefer to keep small flocks - about 20 individuals. But during the breeding season they can form pairs, after which they return to the flock with grown offspring.

Sometimes, when toucans need to migrate, which happens extremely rarely, as these birds are extremely reluctant to leave the inhabited places, they can gather in larger flocks. The same thing happens when a few small groups manage to find a particularly large fruit tree that can shelter these birds for a long time and provide them with food. In this case, toucans can also be combined into large flocks.

These birds show activity mainly during daylight hours. In this case, toucans rarely descend to the ground, preferring to be among the cluster of branches in the crowns of trees, where there is a lot of food and where predators can be difficult to climb.

Toucans are very noisy birds, whose cries are far-spread through the rainforest. But at the same time, they are not at all grumpy, but, on the contrary, very friendly creatures, possessing also a peculiar sense of humor. Toucans maintain friendly relations with other members of their pack and, if necessary, certainly come to the aid of their relatives.

These birds are known for their cheerful disposition and funny habits. They often play with each other, jump on the branches of trees and bang on them with beaks, and then, with their heads tilted to the side, listen to the "music". They also tend to splash noisily in the water accumulating after the rain in the forks of thick branches.

There is no consensus among scholars as to why a toucan needs its huge, and, at first glance, awkward beak. It seems strange to people unfamiliar with these birds: how can this toucan live normally, having such a “decoration”? Indeed, a large and heavy beak would have significantly complicated the life of a bird. Why is this not happening? After all, toucans do not look at all unhappy creatures offended by nature, on the contrary, they are very optimistic and cheerful birds.

It is interesting! The beak of a toucan only looks excessively massive: in fact, it is rather light due to the fact that it has many air cavities, which noticeably reduce its weight.

A huge beak is necessary for a toucan, first of all, because with its help it produces food, besides, many researchers agree that the beak of these birds plays the role of a kind of "conditioner" and plays a huge role in thermoregulation. Also, with the help of the formidable clicking of their huge beaks, these birds drive away predators and protect themselves and their offspring from them.

In captivity, toucans do not cause anxiety to their owners, and there are no problems with them, except for the fact that birds of this size need very large cages, which they often have to do on their own or on order. With home content, toucans delight their owners with a friendly and even affectionate character, as well as intelligence and ingenuity inherent in nature.

Types of toucans

Eight species of these birds are considered to be true toucans by ornithologists:

  • Yellow-throated Toucan. Body length - 47-61 cm, weight - from 584 to 746 g. The main color of plumage is black. Bright yellow throats and upper chest honors are separated from the main coal-black background by a narrow red border. Nadhvoste creamy white hue, podhvoste - bright red. The bill is two-colored, as if divided into darker and lighter shades along the diagonal. Its top is bright yellow, and the lower part is black or brownish-chestnut. There is a pale green spot around the eyes. This bird lives along the eastern slope of the Andes: in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela.
  • Toucan Ariel. The dimensions are approximately equal to 48 cm, weight 300-430 g. The main color is lacquer black. There is a bright yellow spot on the lower half of the head, throat and upper chest; the base of the black beak is also colored in this shade. Marks of bright, orange-red color are clearly visible on the border of yellow and black colors, the undertail and spots around the dark eyes, surrounded by patches of light bluish thin skin, have the same shade. Toucans-arieles live in the southeastern regions of the Amazon.
  • Lemon-thou toucan. The length of the body is about 48 cm, the weight is about 360 g. In this coal-black bird, the upper part of the chest and the throat in front are painted in a pale lemon shade, turning to white on the sides. The area near the eye is light bluish, turning down to white. On the top of the beak there is a bluish-yellow narrow stripe; its base is also painted in the same colors. These birds live in Venezuela and Colombia.
  • Blue-faced toucan. This bird is about 48 cm in length and weighs from 300 to 430 g. A white spot on the throat and upper chest is separated from the main black color by a reddish stripe. There are bright blue spots around the eyes. Nadhvoste brick-reddish hue. The beak is black, except for the pale yellow band that is on top of it and is colored yellow. These toucans live in Venezuela, Bolivia and Brazil.
  • Red-breasted Toucan. The smallest among the representatives of its kind, moreover, its beak is shorter than that of other toucans. The size of these birds is 40-46 cm, weight - from 265 to 400 g. The throat and the upper part of the chest are colored yellow-orange, turning to the edges in yellowish-white. The lower part of the chest and abdomen are red, the spots around the eyes also have a reddish tint. The beak is painted in greenish-blue shades. These birds live in Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and northeastern Argentina.
  • Rainbow Toucan. Body length from 50 to 53 cm, weight - about 400 grams. The chest, throat and lower part of the head are colored lemon yellow, which at the border with the main black color is divided by a narrow red stripe, the tail is bright red. The beak is painted in four shades: green, blue, orange and red, and on its edge and bottom there is a black border. Black narrow stripes edged the edges of the two upper and lower beaks. These toucans live from southern Mexico to the north of Colombia and Venezuela.
  • Big Toucan. Length is from 55 to 65 cm, weight is about 700 g. The main color of plumage is black. There is a white spot on the lower part of the head, throat and chest. The nadhvoste is also bright white, while the undertail is red. The eyes are bordered with bluish spots, and they, in turn, are surrounded by orange markings. The beak is yellow-orange, with a narrow red stripe on top and black spots near the base and at its end. These toucans live in Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay and Brazil.
  • White-breasted Toucan. The length is 53-58 cm, the weight is from 500 to 700 g. Its name is given to the fact that the color of its throat and upper chest is pure white. On its border with a black main background there is a red stripe. The beak is multicolored: its main tone is red, while in its upper part there are patches of turquoise and bright yellow shades, clearly bounded by a red coal-black stripe. White-breasted toucan, mainly in the Amazon.

IT IS INTERESTING! Toucans were so named because of the fact that one of the representatives of their species makes sounds like "tokano!".


Toucans inhabit the forests of Central and South America, from Mexico to Argentina, moreover, they are found both in the lowland tropical rain forests and in the highlands, at an altitude of 3 km above sea level. At the same time, birds prefer to settle where it is lighter, for example, on forest edges or in sparse groves, and not in the thick of forests. They are not afraid of people and often settle near their homes.

Toucans live in hollows, but due to the fact that their beak is not suitable for making holes in hardwood, these birds prefer to occupy the holes already in the trunks of trees. In this case, quite often, several birds live in the same hollow.

It is interesting! To prevent the beak from taking up too much space in a tight nest, the toucan turns its head 180 degrees and lays the beak on its back for itself or its nearest neighbor.

Tukan diet

In general, toucans are herbivorous birds. Very fond of fruits and berries, can also eat flowers of some tropical plants. At the same time, the bird, sitting on a rather thick branch, pulls out its head and with the help of its beak reaches out to a tasty fruit or berry. If it were not for the long beak, then it would be impossible for the ponderous toucans to reach the fruit, mainly growing on very thin branches that cannot withstand the mass of such a large bird.

In addition, these birds can eat and animal food: spiders, insects, frogs, lizards, small snakes. On occasion, do not mind being treated to the eggs of other birds or their chicks.

In captivity, completely unpretentious in terms of feeding. They can be fed with nuts, bread, various cereals, eggs, lean fish, as well as live small invertebrates and vertebrates, such as insects or frogs. But, of course, the best food for them is tropical fruits and berries, which toucans are used to in their native forests of South and Central America.

Reproduction and offspring

Toucans create pairs for many years and after this partner, as a rule, do not change.

These birds nest in hollows of trees, where they lay from 1 to 4 white, oval in shape, right in the wood dust, which both parents nest in turn. At the same time, the incubation period ranges from two weeks: this is how long it continues in small species. Larger toucans hatch eggs somewhat longer.

Toucan chicks are born completely helpless: naked, red-skinned and blind. Their eyes open very late - after about 3 weeks. Young toucans also don’t hurry to feather: even at one month of age, they are still plain and do not overgrow with feathers.

It is interesting! On the feet of the toucan chicks, there are heel calluses that protect against chafing, since babies have to sit in the nest for two months, and the bedding in the nest of the toucans is not soft.

The father and mother feed the chicks together, and in some species they are also helped by relatives and other members of the pack.

After the little toucans rely and learn to fly, the parents return with them to their flock.

Natural enemies

Врагами туканов являются крупные хищные птицы, древесные змеи и дикие кошки, прекрасно лазающие по деревьям. Да и те нападают на них лишь случайно, так как благодаря яркой и очень контрастной расцветке, тукана нелегко заметить в густой кроне деревьев. Силуэт птицы как бы распадается на отдельные цветовые пятна и делает похожим на яркий тропический фрукт или цветок, что, нередко, и вводит хищника в заблуждение. If the enemy dares to approach one of the birds, then the entire pack, which with its loud and almost unbearable cries, and with the help of menacing cracking with its massive beaks, will immediately pounce on it, make the predator get away from the place of the cluster of toucans.

Population and species status

Although the population of these birds is large enough, some of the toucan species are protected. This is primarily due to the fact that toucans cannot live in a wild environment anywhere, except in tropical rain forests, the area of ​​which is constantly decreasing. In general, the following statuses are assigned to the species of these birds:

  • Species causing the least concern: a large toucan, a lemon-nib, a red-breasted toucan, a rainbow toucan.
  • Types close to a vulnerable position: yellow-throated toucan.
  • Vulnerable species: white-breasted toucan, blue-faced toucan, toucan ariel.

Toucans are noisy and very friendly birds, preferring to keep in small flocks. Together they feed on the fruits and berries of trees in the rainforest and together, if necessary, fight back predators. Omnivores, although preferring to eat plant food, toucans easily take root in captivity. They are distinguished by their affectionate and benevolent disposition, and, being tamed, for many years delight their master with amusing habits, with a cheerful and carefree disposition, and at times with fairly harmless leprosy. That is why the Indians of the tribes in those areas inhabited by toucans, often keep these birds as pets.

General information

Toucan belongs to the order woodpecker. It received its name due to the characteristic loud sounds of "current-current", which publishes.

The total mass of an adult toucan does not exceed 300-330 grams. The massive beak practically does not add weight, because inside it is hollow. Its dimensions are slightly less than body length (50-60 cm) and are about 45 cm. The bird uses its beak as an instrument for food, and not for protection.

Depending on the variety, the color of the plumage varies from black to emerald. The beak of the toucan has a bright orange-yellow color with a black tip, which is slightly bent down. In some species, the color range of “dignity” varies from greenish to chocolate.

The lifespan of a healthy individual is 30-50 years.


In the wild, birds live in North America, Brazil and Argentina. This is a forest dweller, preferring dense vegetation located on the plain. In the mountains, a toucan also settles much less frequently. The maximum height, comfortable for a bird, does not exceed 3 kilometers above sea level.

Toucans are not prone to the construction of nests and their independent arrangement. They live in hollows of trees, as well as houses of other birds. Do not disdain these birds and looting. It is not difficult for them to drive the hosts out of their own homes and live there if these birds are inferior to them in physical abilities.

Main varieties of toucans

Ornithologists have identified 37 types of toucans and divided them into 6 genera. To date, science has not fully studied all their features. The reason for this - the inaccessibility of habitats and the impossibility of making a full observation.

Here are well-known in ornithology varieties of toucans.

Andigens: have relatively large sizes - up to 50 cm. Individuals of both sexes are colored the same. They live in pairs and groups in the mountains.

Blackhead Andigens: The beaks of males are larger than those of their partners. The length of the body is 44 cm. They have a blue plumage and a dark green tail.

Flathead Andigens: found in the Andes. They have ash-blue plumage and black scallop.

Aracari: the most spectacular type of olive-colored toucans with a bright red tail. Body length 43 cm. Live in packs.

All these species differ in plumage color and size. The only invariable external feature and pride of woven fabrics is the huge beak.

The nature and manner of behavior of the toucans

Toucans are practically not adapted to flight, because they have weak undeveloped wings. Therefore, they move from branch to branch by jumping.

Toucans do not have many enemies. The danger for them is mainly a boa. If the bird is threatened with an attack, the whole pack rushes to help. The “one for all and all for one” principle works in the case of a wounded relative. He will never be left to die. Instead, it will be protected until it is strengthened.

On hot days, the toucan survives due to the beak, which is its thermostat. In the heat of the excess heat from the body goes into it.

Reproduction and mating season in toucans

Toucans are monogamous birds. Mating occurs once a year. After five days after the eggs appear. Mason does not contain more than four pieces. The incubation period is 16-20 days. Hatching involved both partners alternately.

Newborn babies toucan defenseless. The eyes of chicks remain closed for several days, and their body is completely devoid of fluff.

The offspring matures for 1.5-2.5 years, after which children become completely similar to their parents.

Pet on home content

Toucans are well established as pets, along with their exotic relatives parrots. They represent the embodiment of intellect, gaiety, light disposition and friendliness.

These birds easily adapt to new unusual conditions and do not experience strong stress. Of course, if the owner will treat them benevolently.

A toucan needs space, so it’s necessary to make a bird not in a cage, but in an aviary. Stainless steel is recommended as material for the dwelling. Other birds can be hooked up to the toucan, as it is non-conflicting and willingly gets along with its neighbors. Equip housing with ladders so that the bird does not get bored and move actively.

Two-three-year-old individuals raised in captivity regularly produce offspring. But for this they need conditions as close as possible to the natural, and a lot of space. Inside the home create the effect of the tropical jungle. For this purpose, use a variety of branches, leaves and other vegetation. It is important to maintain a high level of humidity and heat, corresponding to the tropical climate to which toucans are accustomed.

Features of buying a toucan

When purchasing an exotic pet, you need to be vigilant and careful, because there are some nuances in the purchase of a bird.

First, it is not cheap feathered. Its price in the market is from two to five and a half thousand US dollars. If it is below the specified limits, refuse to purchase. Probably, you sell a sick, very old bird, or smuggled goods.

The ratio of birds to humans is formed in the first months of living together. In this case we are talking about sellers. Therefore, give preference to a good pet store that respects its reputation. The staff of such an organization is specially trained, and therefore refers to pets in accordance with their character and behavior.

By purchasing a toucan, you acquire a beautiful, fun, active and very interesting pet, which is interesting to watch for hours.

Food preferences

Toucan is considered an omnivorous bird. However, he also has a diet, observing that the bird will live a long healthy life. The main percentage of the menu is food of plant origin: berries and exotic fruits, which grow in abundance in the tropics. These are bananas, persimmon, figs and passion fruit.

Often toucans eat insects or lizards. Often, other people's nests are ravaged, followed by eating eggs of other birds.

In captivity, the toucan feeds according to the ration that the man made for him. You can feed the bird:

  • porridges,
  • fish
  • melons,
  • water-soaked dog food,
  • vegetables,
  • dietary meat: turkey, chicken, rabbit,
  • boiled chicken eggs
  • insects from the pet store.

The basis of the daily menu of adult birds includes cereals (up to 300 g), fruits (1 pc), vegetables (1 pc), soaked dog food (100g). Do not forget about the berries.

Nuts and seeds for a toucan are prohibited. Also exclude foods that are high in iron.

Interesting facts about the "great woodpeckers"

Interestingly, the beak does not interfere with the toucan when it sleeps. The fact is that the head of the feathery is rotated 180 ° during sleep. At this time, the bird's beak is conveniently located on the back.

And about the subject of pride. Its anatomical structure, as well as the shape of the tongue, is ideal for obtaining figs and passion fruit. The length of the bird's tongue is equal to the length of its beak.

Ornithologists have repeatedly observed that in the wild one bird would pick fruit from branches, then toss it up, passing the prey to a partner.

The eye of a toucan is a living work of art, since its shell is painted in all shades of a rainbow.

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