10 Incredible Toucan Facts

Toucan on the background of Iguazu Falls, Brazil.
© Anton Petrus/Shutterstock.com

Written by Emmanuel Kingsley

Updated: August 19, 2023

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Toucans are a well-known and easily recognized species of bird found in the Central and South American rainforests. These clever birds with large, colorful bills dwell in small flocks or pairs. They prefer to nest in tree hollows and holes, which are frequently left behind by woodpeckers, rather than in tree branches. This list of facts about toucans will teach you more about this lovely bird.

This is our list of 10 great toucan facts!

1. Toucans are Noisy

Cool Types of Birds


Keel-billed Toucan

sitting on a branch in the jungle.


Toucans create a lot of noise. According to the San Diego Zoo, the popular term “toucan” stems from the sound the species makes. Toucans are one of the noisiest birds on the planet. They seem like frogs croaking as they sing. With their bills, they also make tapping and clattering noises. Several toucan species also make braying, growling, and barking sounds. 

Female toucans have a higher voice than the males. They augment their sounds to attract other birds to suitable foraging areas and to set themselves apart from other toucan groups. Toucans become much noisier when other birds are idle in the late afternoon.

2. The Toucan’s Huge Bills Are Quite Handy

©Ondrej Prosicky/Shutterstock.com

Scientists are intrigued as to why the toucan’s beak is so large. The huge, brilliantly colored bill may be attractive to potential mates, therefore it may play a key role in courtship. Predators or other birds that contend with the toucan for food may be intimidated by its size. However, in an actual conflict, the cumbersome bill would be useless. It’s built of keratin honeycomb, which isn’t particularly robust, hefty, or firm.

Scientists have also discovered that the bill of the toucan aids in cooling. Toucans can control blood flow to the beak to keep their body temperature in check.

The bill is also helpful around dinnertime. Toucans use their huge beak to grab fruit that would otherwise be outside of reach, then peel and devour the fruit with remarkable dexterity using the serrated edge of their bill.

3. The Tongue of The Toucan is 6 Inches Long

baby toucan eating

Toucans have long tongues!

©Marcelo Morena/Shutterstock.com

The tongue of a toucan is comparable to a feather, and it propels food down its throat.

The tongue of a toucan is about 15 cm (5.9 inches) long on average, nearly as long as its beak. As a result, toucans use their extended tongue to gather insects for food.

4. The Toco Toucan is the Largest and Most Popular Toucan

Toucan on the branch in tropical forest of Brazil.

The toco toucan is the world’s largest type of toucan.

©SJ Travel Photo and Video/Shutterstock.com

The toco toucan is the world’s largest toucan and the most popular of the toucan species. In addition, the toco toucan can be found in semi-open settings across most of central and eastern South America.

They enjoy more open settings than other toucan species and can often be spotted on the outskirts of woods or near rivers. Unlike other birds, toco toucans have the most prominent beaks in relation to the rest of their bodies.

5. Toucans Popularly Feature on Screens and as Mascots

You can often see toucans’ likeness being used in cartoons, commercials, and plenty more.

©Muchness / Creative Commons – Original

The toucan is Belize‘s famous national bird. Because the toucan is an emblem of communication and showmanship, native American cultures frequently incorporate it into their totem pole designs.

A toucan is a mascot for Kellogg’s Fruit Loops, a popular breakfast cereal. Toucan Sam is the cereal’s mascot and has been around for nearly 50 years. After visiting a zoo, advertising agency founder S. H. Benson was amazed by the colorful birds and decided on a toucan as their logo.

In 1992, two toucan detectives named Zippi and Zac starred in the TV show ‘Toucan Tecs.’ Dora the Explorer also had a companion named Senior Toucan, a multicolored bird.

6. Toucan Chicks are Pale-Colored and Born Blind 

Toucan on the background of Iguazu Falls, Brazil.

Toucan mothers lay between four and eggs.

©Anton Petrus/Shutterstock.com

Toucans have their breeding season in the spring. They have a unique courtship behavior that involves the male and female tossing a piece of fruit. The female lays two to four eggs.

After a 20-day incubation period, the newborn toucans, called chicks or fledglings, are born blind. Toucan chicks are born with a drab tint that develops into their vibrant colors as they mature. In addition, the baby is born without a large beak. As the chicks grow into adult toucans, their bills grow to be the size of an adult toucan’s.

7. Toucans Don’t Fly Much

Emerald Toucanet, Aulacorhynchus prasimus, in a nest in Tikal, Guatemala

Toucans aren’t in the air too much.

©Thorsten Spoerlein/Shutterstock.com

Toucans are unable to fly far due to their relatively short wings. They utilize their wings to keep their stability while hopping and gliding from a tiny distance to another. Their tiny, robust wings help them hop from tree to tree when hunting for food or shelter. Toucans are not known for flying or soaring in the sky like some other birds.

8. Toucans Easily Adapt and Camouflage

Emerald Toucanet, Aulacorhynchus prasinus

Toucans use their surrounds to help them hide from would-be threats.


The toucan’s bright beak helps it blend in with the South American vegetation that grows in the forest. This bright beak colored enables toucans to safely rummage for food and hide from predators. Toucans have a strong sense of survival. Compared to other bird species, they can swiftly adapt to harsh situations.

9. Toucans are Playful Social Birds with Interesting Habits

baby toucan group

Toucans are very social!

©Ondrej Prosicky/Shutterstock.com

The toucan has a unique way of making itself home in its little, enclosed nest. Toucans nap with their heads pressed against their backs and one wing tucked beneath the other. The bird then settles in for the night by flipping its tail over its head.

Toucans are noted for being communal and playful birds. They wander in informal groups of about 22 birds in search of food. Toucans start their days by exploring the fruit trees within their home base, preferring fruit above all other food sources. They may then embark on longer journeys in search of fresh fruit plants. Toucans enjoy fun jousting with one another while digesting before heading home to roost for the evening.

10. Toucans Make Fantastic Pets 

Toucans are good pets.

©Snowmanradio / Creative Commons – Original

Toucans make excellent pets, despite their rarity. Many people have the impression that they cannot be kept as pets. They are, nevertheless, good pets because they eat a simple diet and are known to bite only superficially. They are friendly birds that do not harm humans. Toucans aren’t particularly destructive, and cleaning up their feces is simple.

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