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Toco Toucan

Toco Toucan
origin:South America
life expectancy:10 to 20 years
scientific name:Ramphastos toco
family:Ramphastidae
dimensions:0 to 60 cm
compatibility: agressivesinging ability: not very melodiousloudiness: loud
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History [ edit ]

There are about 40 species of Toucans in the Central and South America. They are part of the Ramphastidae family. These softbill birds live in Rainforests and are extremely important for this ecosystem since they play the role of seed of tropical trees disperser.

The Toucans can be found in the canopy of the forests. They hang around near fruiting trees in small flocks of no more a dozen individuals.

Toco Toucans are the most famous among the group due to his huge beak. He has been the mascot of some company’s commercials that had great impact on the public.

He is considered common in the wild, but his price of acquisition is elevated.  
editing: History [ close ]
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Temperament [ edit ]

The Toco Toucan is a calm bird, not as feisty as other toucans, but also very noisy. His vocalizations, that resemble a frog “croak”, can be heard at long distances, several hundred meters actually. They are smart, friendly and playful.

They aren’t capable of mimicking the human voice, nor have great singing abilities, but they aren´t as destructive as parrots and far less chewers. 
editing: Temperament [ close ]
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General appearance [ edit ]

The Toco (Ramphastos toco) is the largest toucan of all. He is mostly black with a big white spot on the chest area and bare orange skin area around the eyes. The wings are rounded and the tail is almost square. The Toco has two toes oriented to the front and two to the back.

His beak is certainly the most striking trait of him. Even in proportion the beak of this bird is bigger than in any other toucan, reaching up to 20 cm long and almost 8 at the base. The idea of a heavy beak conveyed by its size couldn’t be more misleading. This softbill bird has a beak made mostly of honeycomb framed by a thin bone structure. It´s length is a great advantage in the wild, because it allows him to reach the fruits of thin branches that don´t support his height. When the Toco Toucan is asleep, he raises his tail so that he can squeeze himself into less spacious area as tree holes and he also turns his head backwards and lays his orange bill with a black tip on the back, probably to take the weight off its neck.

Visually sexing the birds is impossible, since they are identical.
editing: General appearance [ close ]
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Housing [ edit ]

The Toucans shouldn’t be housed with smaller species since they might eat them. They need large cages because of their spacious beak. Large macaw accommodations work well for toucans. They are very active and it´s better to keep them in aviaries instead of being pet birds. Toco Toucans need plenty of mental stimulation so accessorize the cage with toys. Little branches on perches should be trimmed so that these birds can turn around without damaging the bill.

The aviary should have protection from cold, since they may have respiratory due to low temperatures.  
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Diet [ edit ]

The Toco Toucans are omnivorous, eating even young bird, lizards and eggs in the wild. In captivity their diet needs to be very well thought since it is essentially based on fruit which can cause health problems related with the over storage of iron. They are very sensitive to their food and their plumage tends to be fader when they aren’t having the appropriate nutrition. Because of this fragility, Toucans aren’t advisable for novice.

The diet of these birds should consist on a good amount of diced fruit, like apple, melon, papaya, grapes, blueberries and banana, which should be at least half of his diet. Don´t give these birds orange because it is thought that can help iron absorption. Softbill food and pellets should complement the daily dosage, as long as they are low on iron. Once in a while you can give them invertebrates animals, like the mealworms. Eggfood can also be present. Never give this bird nuts or seeds since they aren’t appropriate for them. 
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Health [ edit ]

Hemochromatosis is the main cause of death among captivity toucans. Their over storage of iron was permitted by their improper diets. Food rich in iron was commonly given to these birds in the beginning of his breeding in captivity which has shortened his lifespan in 10 years. However, with proper nutrition they can life up to 25.

They aren’t as susceptible to virus as parrots. 
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