7 cool things about the toco toucan

Did you know that ‘toucan’ is a common name for birds with big and colourful bills who are found in tropical South American forests? Let’s find out why the toco toucan is such an interesting bird.

1. Big brother

There are about 15 different species of toucan, and the largest of them is the toco toucan. And if you consider aracaris and toucanets, then the toucan family extends to 35 species. Toco toucans are the largest of these birds and can reach up to 65cm in length, with their beaks reaching about 19cm.

2. Camouflaging beak

One would think that this bird’s brightly coloured beak would make him stand out, but on the contrary, his beak helps him camouflage. And don’t be fooled by the size of his beak. It’s not as heavy as you may think. It’s made of keratin and contains small air pockets, which make the bill lightweight.

3. Home is…

The toco toucan can be found in a wide range of semi-open habitats like woodlands and savannah in central and eastern South America, including Peru, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. You can also find him in open habitats with trees, like forest edges, areas with scattered trees, and in plantations and wooded gardens. This bird also frequents tropical wetlands and flooded grasslands.

4. Treetop hopping

Flying is not the toco toucan’s strongest skill. He can fly, and he normally flies short distances, but he prefers to hop to get to where he wants to be, whether it is in the treetops or on the ground.

5. Big mouth

Toco toucans aren’t the best morning birds, and they get louder towards the latter part of the day. He can make a range of sounds, which are more snoring or grunting sounds, and can sound more like a frog’s croaking.

6. Celebrity bird

You know you’ve got ‘the looks’ when many companies use you as their product’s mascot or logo, or even better, in their advertising campaigns. The toco toucan has been used in many marketing campaigns and on product packaging, from Fruit Loops to Guinness.

7. Native American religion

There are many religious beliefs around the toco toucan. In its native regions, the bird is associated with evil spirits and is thought to be an incarceration of them. The toco toucan has also been etched on tribal totems as a symbol of showmanship and communication.

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