Tango Toco Toucan
IUCN: Least Concern
Toco toucans (Ramphastos toco) are mainly fruit-eating birds native to the South American rainforest. Also known as the common toucan or giant toucan, they are probably the species of toucan that is best known around the world.
You may not be surprised to learn that toco toucan bills are the largest relative to their body size of any bird species, and can represent 30-50% of their body surface area! These big bills have several important functions. The elongated, hollow bills extend their reach to make ripe fruit at the tips of the branches more accessible. The edges of their long bills are serrated like a steak knife and they will use it like a dagger when frightened. Also, research has shown that the bills serve a very important role in regulating the birds' temperature. Toucans have a long, narrow tongue that looks like a feather. Much like a sponge, it helps them collect fruit pulp and juices.
Tango is incredibly agile and curious, and a great ambassador and teacher for us to learn more about how his body is built perfectly for the kind of life he lives. Although toco toucan populations are currently stable, not all members of the toucan family are so lucky, and Tango can help us learn the importance of these unique birds.
For more information on toucans, visit Emerald Forest Bird Gardens.