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10 Revealing Facts About Toucans

Last Reviewed and Updated on August 1, 2022

Toucans are one of the most colorful and perhaps the most recognizable birds. They are known for their large, brightly colored bills, with some species having a bill that is as long as a third of their body length. Read through these interesting facts about toucans and learn more about these birds.

1. Toco toucans have the largest beak-to-body ratio of all birds

While hummingbirds have the longes beak to body ratio, if you take the whole size into account (length and width), toucans are the winners, specifically the Toco toucans.

2. There are over 40 species of toucans

Toco toucans are the most known; however, there are quite a few more species of toucans. The visual differences between species are pretty drastic, both in the shape and color of their beaks as well as feather colors.

3. Toucans mostly eat fruit

These birds are primarily frugivorous, but when the opportunity arises are omnivores and will eat insects, smaller birds, and smaller lizards.

3. Their bills are very light

You would think that because of the large size, the beaks would be heavy, but this is not the case. The beak is composed of bone struts filled with keratin-based spongy tissue.

5. A toucans bill helps these birds with thermoregulation

This is one of the most interesting facts about toucans. The beaks aren’t just for show. These birds can regulate their body temperature with the help of their beaks. They adjust the blood flow to their beaks to either cool themselves off or heat themselves up.

They can drop their temperatures this way pretty fast; it takes them just a few minutes.

6. When they sleep, they look like a ball of feathers

When they sleep, they will turn their head back and fold their tail feathers over their head.

7. They are very sociable birds

Toucans are social birds. They are found in groups of up to 20 or even more birds most of the time.

During the breeding season, the pair may leave the group but will return to the group, along with their young, at the end of the breeding season.

8. Toco toucan is the largest, and the Green-billed toucan is the smallest

Toco toucans are the largest and most known of all toucan species. Their length is anywhere between 21.5 to 25.5 inches / 55-65 cm.

The green-billed toucan, also known as the red-breasted toucan, is the smallest toucan species. They grow to about 15.5–18 in / 40 to 46 cm in length, which still makes them pretty big as far as birds go.

9. Baby toucans are born completely featherless

Toucans are born without feathers. Their beaks are also relatively small; it grows as they mature. On top of that, they are also blind at birth.

10. Toucans aren’t the best flyers

They can only fly short distances. They prefer moving among trees by hopping.

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