There are about forty different species of toucan, spread over five genera. These include toucans and their smaller cousins, aracaris and toucanets. Here are some fun facts about the toucan family.
- All toucans have colorful and extremely large bills. Despite their size, the bills are composed of a kind of spongy material, and are extremely lightweight.
- Having a large bill is beneficial in foraging for fruit -- the bird can grab a lot of food without moving its whole body. The oversized bill also helps the toucan regulate its body heat in the steamy rainforest.
- Toucans are cavity nesters, but they aren't able to excavate their own nest holes with much success. They use cavities excavated by other birds, like woodpeckers.
- The smallest birds in the family range from about 11 or 12 inches long (the Green Aracari or the Lettered Aracari).
Green Aracari by Sham Edmond [CC BY 2.0]
- The largest species of toucan is the Toco Toucan, which reaches 29 inches in length.
- Toucans are able to fly, but they have relatively short wings. They are resident birds within their range (they do not migrate), and tend to get around their forest canopy habitat by hopping from branch to branch.
- The Toco Toucan is the most well-known species of toucan; it is sometimes known simply as "Toucan" or "Common Toucan".
Toco Toucan by William Warby [CC BY 2.0]
- The Keel-billed Toucan is the national bird of Belize.
- Toucans are found in the Neotropics, meaning they are New World birds found in tropical habitat. They range from southern Mexico into northern parts of South America. They are also found in the Caribbean.
- The constellation Tucana, a group of stars in the Southern Sky, is named after the toucan. It was established by Dutch astronomer Petrus Plancius and was first published in 1598 in Amsterdam.
- We have three birds in the toucan family here. Check out our Birdorable Keel-billed Toucan, Birdorable Green Aracari; and Birdorable Toco Toucan!
With its massive orange-yellow bill, the Toco Toucan is one of the most recognized birds in the world. Here are some interesting facts about the Toco Toucan and its amazing bill.
- The Toco Toucan is the largest species of toucan in the world. There are about 40 species of toucan in total.
- The bill of the Toco Toucan is nearly 8 inches long. Its tongue is not much shorter - that's a long tongue!
- A toucan's bill is largely hollow, with a boney structure similar to that of a sponge. It may look like a formidable weapon, but its use as a defensive aid is more psychological (intimidation) than physical.
- Up to 50% of a Toco Toucan's total body surface area can be found in its bill.
- Toco Toucans use their massive bills to skin fruit and to grab hard-to-reach food items.
- Toucan bills may help the birds regulate heat; the large surface area of the bill radiates heat away from the bird's body in their warm tropical environment.
- A Toco Toucan can live up to 20 years in the wild.
- Toco Toucans are cavity nesters. Can you imagine this amazing bird using its bill to hollow out a tree cavity for its nest?
If you can't get enough of Toco Toucans, be sure to check out Birdorable's selection of Toco Toucan t-shirts and gifts!
Today's highlighted t-shirt, Colorful Toucan, features our Toco Toucan in a colorful design. The word TOUCAN is spelled out using bold letters of different bright colors arranged in a semicircle. The cute Birdorable toucan sits in the middle.
Are you following Birdchick's adventures in Panama? She's currently birding at the fabulous Canopy Lodge ("I have died and gone to birder heaven") and she's practically live-blogging as she goes. So far she's seen an amazing variety of tropical birds, including Great Potoo, Red-capped Mannikin (the moonwalking bird) and even Keel-billed Toucans! If you want to follow Birdchick's tropical birding fun, check out her blog and follow her on Twitter.
Today's addition in our Birdorable Bonanza is the Green Aracari, which lives in northeastern South America. It is one of the smallest toucans. These birds spend most of their lives in the highest trees of the forest. They don't come down very often, not even to drink or bathe which they do with rain water that collects in tree forks and leaves. This is our totally cute Birdorable Green Aracari!
Photo by Eric F Savage (Source: Flickr)
And here's a sneak peek at tomorrow's bird in the Birdorable Bonanza. Until the 31st of July we'll be adding a new bird every day until we reach #200 at the end of this month.
Our totally cute Birdorable Keel-billed Toucan is ready for Christmas! Wearing a cute Santa Hat and sitting on a red glass Christmas ball, the adorable Toucan in this design for the holidays is too cute! Great for bird lovers!