Toco toucan joins Zoo's collection

Toco toucan joins Zoo's collection

A second Toco toucan (Ramphastos toco) is now residing in the stone bird house, which sits just beneath Raptor Canyon, at the Zoo. Found in several South American countries, the Toco toucan is the largest member of the toucan family. Its bright coloration helps the bird camouflage into the fauna within its habitat. Though the Toco toucan appears to have blue eyes, its black eyes are actually encircled by a thin layer of blue skin. Its prominent beak is almost 8 inches long and 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.

The Toco toucan is a highly social bird and typically lives in pairs or family groups. To replicate this natural environment, the male toucan joins a 3-year-old female toucan at the Zoo. The Fort Worth Zoo hopes to breed the two birds once they are mature. As a courtship ritual, the male and female will collect fruit to throw to one another. When it comes time to nest, this species will build in tree cavities that are often very tight; and since babies don’t leave the nest until they are capable of flight, the space gets a little cramped.

Posted by Katie Kreder at 1:53 PM