The toucan is a colorful bird that is best known for its appearance as a sugary cereal mascot. In reality, this large-billed creature has a much richer history than that.
The toucan, which is native to South America’s tropical forests, is well recognized by people all over the world. The unique appearance of this bird has made it very popular indeed.
Take a look at these surprising and interesting facts about the toucan, and you may learn something you didn’t know before!
▪ Toucans can be found in the tropical forests of South America, and can also find homes in tree hollows or abandoned woodpecker holes.
▪ Thankfully toucans are not being as affected by rainforest destruction as other animals. They have been listed at being “least of concern” by conservationists. Their home is still in danger, despite no efforts needed to protect toucans specifically. It is advised to avoid buying rainforest wood and take other preventative measures to protect the habitat of toucans.
▪ Toucans use their beak to peel and eat different kinds of fruit, which happens to be the kind of food they eat most often. Sometimes toucans will choose to snack on insects, frogs, and reptiles, or the eggs of other birds.
▪ Toucans get most of their water from the fruit they eat, so they don’t need too much. Fruit is very high in moisture and water content, and since this makes up most of the toucan’s diet, water by itself is not highly vital.
▪ You can’t talk about the toucan without mentioning that infamous beak. The toucan’s beak is the most remarkable and notable aspect of their appearance. Measuring at about 8 inches long, the beak of a toucan makes up 1/3 of the bird’s total length. It may look pretty big, but thankfully for the toucan their beaks are not too heavy. It is composed of protein keratin, which makes it much lighter than you would think just by looking.
▪ Toucans have a black body and white throat, but the colorful and most memorable aspect of their appearance is still that giant beak! Bonus fact: toucans can regulate their body temperature by adjusting blood flow to their beaks.
▪ There are around 40 different kind of toucans, so they can range in size from 7 inches to a little over 2 feet tall.
▪ Believe it or not, although toucans spend a lot of their time in trees, they aren’t the best fliers around. These birds have to flap their wings vigorously to travel short distances, so you’ll often find them hopping rather than flying through the air.
▪ Believe it or not, wild cats are a predator of toucans in the rainforest. Other predators include larger birds. Some snakes and rodents may attack smaller toucans but typically are more interested in the toucan’s eggs instead.
▪ Believe it or not, are not born with those signature beaks being so large. It takes several months for their beaks to grow and become so big and vibrant.
▪ Believe it or not, although the bill of a toucan is large and looks threatening, it is not a very good weapon at all for defending this tropical bird. As mentioned, the bill is made of keratin – what else is made of keratin? The nails and hair of many mammals, including us humans!
▪ Believe it or not, toucans are actually related to woodpeckers.
▪ Believe it or not, toucans can be rather lazy birds and they like to stay in one place generally. They don’t fly high up in the sky or very far away from home, and enjoy staying in trees with their delicious fruit to feast on.