Bird Families

Aulacorhynchus haematopygus


Toucan (lat. Ramphastidae) - a family of birds of the order woodpecker. Toucans have an incommensurably large, laterally compressed, brightly colored beak. However, the beak itself, despite its size, is not as heavy as it seems, due to the presence of air cavities in it. The largest representatives of the order of woodpeckers. There are 37 species of birds, grouped into 6 genera.

Toucans inhabit the lowland and mountain (up to 3000 m) tropical forests of America from southern Mexico to northern Argentina. They nest in natural holes or hollows carved by woodpeckers.

These birds got their name due to the fact that representatives of one of their species shout something like "tokano!"


Notable for their appearance. The first thing that catches your eye is the disproportionately large, brightly colored beak. Its length is almost equal to the length of the bird's body. The large beak does not cause any inconvenience to the bird: it is very light due to the presence of pneumatic cavities in it. The beak of a toucan is very different from that of an adult bird. In chicks, it is flat, and the lower jaw is somewhat longer and wider than the upper one, this facilitates the grasping of food thrown by adult birds. The tongue of toucans is long, its front part and edges are fringed, which gives it a feathery appearance. The skin around the corners of the mouth and around the eyes is not feathery and brightly colored. Contrasting color of plumage. There are usually a variety of bright areas on the main black background of most of the plumage. The legs and eyes of these birds are painted in bright colors. There are toucans that are so variegated that in this respect they are not inferior to the brightest parrots. Toucans are hardly noticeable among forest greenery, especially when they sit quietly in the crowns of trees after feeding: you might think that a large bright butterfly peeps out of the foliage. The tail of toucans, as a rule, is short, straight cut, consists of 10 tail feathers. In some species, it is rather long and stepped, that is, the outer tail feathers are the shortest, the following are longer, etc., and the middle pair of tail feathers is the longest. The short and wide wings each have 11 primary flight feathers. The legs are strong and large, four-toed, adapted for climbing trees.

Because of their awkward large body and huge beak, toucanes fly quite hard. Having taken off, the bird gains altitude, and then plans in the desired direction, describing wide circles in the air. These birds avoid long distance flights. All the time toucans spend in the crowns of large trees, where they feed on fruits. Birds are curious, they chase birds of prey together and gather in large flocks, trying to help a fellow wounded or captured by a predator.


Toucan are monogamous birds. They nest in tree hollows. Clutch consists of 1-4 shiny white eggs equally rounded at both ends. Both parents incubate the clutch. In small species, incubation lasts 2 weeks, in large species a little longer. Chicks hatch completely helpless, naked and blind. They stay in the hollow for 6 to 8 weeks.


By the nature of their food, toucan are herbivorous birds that feed on exceptionally juicy fruits (for example, bananas) and berries. The notches on the beak help the bird to hold and open the fruit. However, they can eat spiders, some invertebrates, occasionally lizards and even small snakes. Sometimes they drag chicks and eggs from the nests of other birds.

Sound communication of birds

The voice of different species of toucans is different, but in all birds it is loud, sharp and shrill. It can be compared to either the croaking of a frog or the barking of a puppy.

Relationship with the local population

Local residents hunt them intensively because of the delicious meat that is commonly eaten. The beautiful feathers of these birds, as well as the orange skin with small plumage, removed from the chest in many species, are used as decoration.


Toucans are distinguished by great gullibility and intelligence, and therefore are easily tamed. In captivity, they eat almost everything that is given to them. Meat, bread, porridge, a variety of fruits, various invertebrates, fish, reptiles, small mammals, seeds and juicy herbs, eggs.

Usage Information

Photo "Crimson Toucanet - Aulacorhynchus haematopygus, a beautiful green toucanet from South American forests, Amagusa, Ecuador." can be used for personal and commercial purposes according to the conditions of the purchased Royalty-free license. The image is available for download in high resolution quality up to 3873x2595.

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