The Toco Toucan (Ramphastos toco) is a species of bird belonging to the family Ramphastidae. It is known for its large and colorful bill, which is its most distinctive feature. Toco Toucans are native to the tropical rainforests of Central and South America and are found in countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay.
The Toco Toucan is one of the largest species of toucans, with an average length of about 20 inches (50 cm) and a weight of around 1.5 pounds (700 grams). It has black feathers on its body, a white throat, and a bright orange bill with a black base. The bill is long and measures around 7.5 inches (19 cm), making it one of the largest bills in relation to body size among all bird species.
The bill of the Toco Toucan serves several purposes. It is primarily used for reaching and plucking fruits from tree branches. Toucans are frugivorous, meaning they mainly feed on fruits, but they also consume insects, eggs, and small vertebrates occasionally. The bill’s large size and serrated edges allow the toucan to tear through tough fruit skins. The bill also plays a role in thermoregulation, as it helps the bird dissipate excess heat.
Apart from its bill, the Toco Toucan is known for its striking plumage. It has black feathers with a white bib at the throat, giving it a distinct appearance. The eyes are surrounded by a patch of blue skin, and the legs and feet are dark in color. The tail feathers are typically black with a hint of red or yellow at the tip.
Toco Toucans are highly social birds and are often seen in small groups or pairs. They are skilled fliers and can move quickly through the forest canopy using their wings. Their call is a loud and distinctive croaking or rattling sound, which they use for communication within their groups.
These birds play an important role in seed dispersal, as they consume fruits and then excrete the seeds in different locations, aiding in forest regeneration. They are also considered iconic symbols of the tropical rainforests of South America.