Toco toucan chicks
Habitat: Woodlands, savannas and plantations
Range: Brazil, Argentina, Peru, French Guiana, Bolivia, Paraguay and Suriname
The Zoo is delighted to announce the birth of three Toco toucan fledglings. The toucans, one male and two females, were born on June 24 and 25, 2016. Their birth is a first for the species at the Zoo. Found in several South American countries, the Toco toucan is the largest member of the toucan family. While this bird may appear to stick out, its bright coloration actually helps the toucan to camouflage into the fauna within its habitat. The young Toco toucans’ beaks will eventually grow to be almost 8 inches long, and the prominent beak is used primarily to forage for food. The lightweight bill is composed of thin, bony struts, giving it little solid substance. Unlike many animals, the Toco toucan does not use its tongue to swallow food. Instead, it holds food at the tip of its beak and tilts its head back so the food falls into its throat. Though the Toco toucan appears to have blue eyes, its black eyes are actually encircled by a thin layer of blue skin.
The Toco toucan is a highly social bird and typically lives in pairs or family groups. In 2014, in an effort to replicate this natural environment, a male toucan joined the Zoo’s female toucan. As a courtship ritual, the male and female collect fruit to throw to one another. A female Toco toucan typically lays two to four eggs, and both parents take turns incubating the eggs for 15 to 18 days until the hatchlings emerge. Be sure to stop by and see the young toucan family on your next visit at the Zoo!