If you want to learn about toco toucans, this page contains
lots of useful information about the habitat and lifestyle
of the toco toucan. However, unlike many of the animals
shown on this site, it is not particularly threatened
by destruction of rainforests.
The Toco Toucan (Ramphastos toco) is the largest and
arguably best known species in the toucan family. It is
found in semi-open habitats throughout a large part of
central and eastern South America. It is a common attraction
The Toco Toucan has a striking plumage with a mainly
black body, a white throat, chest and uppertail-coverts,
and red undertail-coverts. What appears to be a blue iris
is actually thin blue skin around the eye. This blue skin
is surrounded by another ring of bare, orange skin. The
most noticeable feature, however, is its huge bill, which
is yellow-orange, tending to deeper reddish-orange on
its lower sections and culmen, and with a black base and
large spot on the tip. It looks heavy, but as in other
toucans it is relatively light because the inside largely
The tongue is nearly as long as the bill and very flat.
With a total length of 55-65 cm (22-26 in), incl. a bill
that measures almost 20 cm (8 in), and a weight of 500-860
g (17.5-30 oz), it is the largest species of toucan and
the largest representative of the order Piciformes. The
average Toco Toucan is 700 grams. Males are larger than
females, but otherwise the sexes are alike. Juveniles
are duller and shorter-billed than adults. Its voice consists
of a deep, coarse croaking, often repeated every few seconds.
Also has a rattling call and will bill-clack.
A juvenile Toco Toucan occurs in northern and eastern
Bolivia, extreme south-eastern Peru, northern Argentina,
eastern and central Paraguay, eastern and southern Brazil
(excluding southern Rio Grande do Sul, the dry regions
dominated by Caatinga vegetation and coastal regions between
Ceará and Rio de Janeiro). Other disjunct populations
occur along the lower Amazon River (Ilha de Marajo west
approximately to the Madeira River), far northern Brazil
in Roraima, and coastal regions of the Guianas. It only
penetrates the Amazon in relatively open areas (e.g. along
river corridors). It is resident, but local movements
The Toco Toucan eats fruit (e.g. figs and Passiflora
edulis) using its bill to pluck them from trees, but also
insects, and nestlings and eggs of birds. It also has
been known to capture and eat small adult birds in captivity.
The long bill is useful for reaching things that otherwise
would be out-of-reach. It is also used to skin fruit and
scare off predators. It is typically seen in pairs or
small groups. In flight, it alternates between a burst
of rapid flaps with the relatively short, rounded wings
Nesting is seasonal, but timing differs between regions.
The nest is typically placed high in a tree and consists
of a cavity, at least part of which is excavated by the
parent birds themselves. It has also been recorded nesting
in holes in earth-banks and terrestrial termite-nests.
Their reproduction cycle is annual. The female usually
lays two to four eggs a few days after mating. The eggs
are incubated by both sexes and hatch after 17-18 days.
These birds are very protective of themselves and of their
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charity involved in numerous projects worldwide. Particularly
relevant to this site is their work in helping to purchase
rainforest land to protect and preserve it.
You can Help to Buy Rainforest
and Save it by donating to the WLT to save some of
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If you have any photos, stories or drawings of toco toucans,
other animals or anything else to do with the rainforest
environment that you would like to see shown on the site,
please feel free to send them in. We always welcome contributions
or constructive comments.