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Toco toucan

Ramphastos toco

Description: This large toucan is all black except for a white bib on its throat and red and white at the base of the tail. The skin on the face is orange and the skin surrounding the eye is blue. The feet are also blue. The eight to ten-inch (20-25 cm) long bill makes the Toco toucan easily distinguishable. It is colored in varying shades of yellow and reddish- orange. A large black “apostrophe-shaped” spot is at the tip of the orange, upper mandible. Sexes are similar in appearance, but females are slightly smaller. The Toco toucan is frequently seen in advertisements and cartoons.

Size: This is the largest species of the toucans, measuring 24 inches (61 cm) and weighing 19.4- 28.2 ounces (550-800 gr).

Behavior: They usually live in pairs or small groups, spending most of their time in trees.
Tocos can often be seen using their strong feet and legs to hop from branch to branch or tree to tree. When sleeping, they turn their head, lay their bill along their back, and cover the bill with their tail feathers.

Diet: The Toco toucan eats fruit, seeds, nuts and animal prey (small mammals, small reptiles, nestlings, insects and eggs). A long, thin feather- like tongue helps with their eating.

Communication: They are quite noisy; included in the “croaking” group (use toad-like noises). There is much variation in their sounds – single and slow, fast and in series, deep in pitch, a rattle call and the bill-clap.

Reproduction: The typical nesting site is high in a tree cavity, often one that has been made by woodpeckers and partially excavated by the toucans to fit their needs. The clutch consists of two to four white eggs which are incubated for 16 to 18 days. Both parents care for the hatchlings which have bare skin, closed eyes and remain helpless for six to eight weeks.

Habitat/range: Tocos are primarily a lowlands, non- forest species, found in habitats that are semi-open (savannahs, woodlands, plantations, forest-edges). They are native to the countries of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, French Guiana, Paraguay, Peru and Suriname.

Status: Listed as Least Concern (LC) by IUCN Red List of Threatened Species; Appendix II CITES. Included in AZA Species Survival Plan® (SSP). This program cooperatively manages specific, and typically threatened or endangered populations.