What’s a Baby Toucan Called + 4 More Amazing Facts!

Written by Sadie Dunlap
Published: December 28, 2021
Image Credit Alejandro Principato/Shutterstock.com
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Baby toucans are some of the most mysterious birds on the planet. Did you know a toucan’s beak actually isn’t heavy? Or that there’s no official name for a group of baby toucans? Stick around to find out more amazing baby toucan facts and to see some adorable baby toucan photos!

#1: A Baby Toucan is Called a Fledgling!

baby toucan group
Toucans can be called chicks or fledglings as babies!

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Baby toucans are called fledglings. However, adult toucans and groups of toucans don’t have any other official names yet. 

Fledglings are born and within three weeks, they start flapping their wings and opening their eyes. They are born naked, but by the time they’re three months old will have all their feathers. Toucan babies venture away from the nest for the first time at around six weeks old. However, a fledgling will stay with its mother until it’s around 5 months old or it’s able to fly off on its own.

#2: Baby Toucans Flap their Wings Before they Open their Eyes

baby toucan closeup
Toucan fledglings begin to flap their wings long before they learn to fly.

Alejandro Principato/Shutterstock.com

Toucan fledglings are born with their eyes closed. They are unable to open them until around 20 to 23 days old. However, while in the nest with their eyes sealed shut, they will start flapping their wings at around 17 to 19 days old. 

As adults, toucans are not the best fliers and often will glide with their wings or hop along to get to where they want to be. Baby toucans learn much from their mothers, but wing flapping is not one of them. They instinctively flap their wings, which helps strengthen their wing muscles to get them ready for flight!

#3: Toucan Fledglings Do Not Grow Into Their Bills

baby toucan chicks
A toucan chick’s beak is lighter than it appears!

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Toucan fledglings are not born with large beaks, their beaks actually don’t even fully develop until they’re 1 to 3 years old. It’s also often thought that their beaks are heavy but in fact they are lightweight because they are made of keratin and they have several small holes in them to make sure they are not too heavy for flight. 

Another misconception about toucans is that the bright colored beaks are for mating purposes. However, there’s no scientific evidence that suggests this is true. Instead, their brightly-colored beaks act as camouflage, which helps them blend into the vivid hues of the rainforest canopies of Central and South America.

#4: Baby Toucans are Social Creatures

baby toucan eating
Toucan babies crave social interaction.

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Toucan fledglings are no stranger to social interaction. In fact, toucans live in group settings. Unlike many other species of birds, both the mother and father participate in their baby’s life. Mother toucans rear and raise their young while fathers often hunt and protect their family.

In their early years, baby toucans rely heavily on their parents to learn about independent life. For about five months, they observe and mimic their parents to build life skills. During this time, they will learn to hunt, find water, and fly. Parental modeling also shows baby toucans how to socialize.

One of the most important things they help the young bird learn is how to spot danger and how to avoid it. When a threat is near, toucans depend primarily on scaring prey off to protect themselves. This means most of the time, they can protect themselves by making loud noises or striking a tree with their beaks to scare off danger.

#5: Toco Toucans Have Seriously Large Beaks

baby toucan portrait
The Toco Toucan has the largest beak of all the toucan species.

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Perhaps the most recognizable feature a toucan has is its large, vibrant beak. Toucans use this appendage to dig, search for food, and to pick up objects. Toco Toucan babies are the largest toucans on Earth, and their beaks are no exception.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are baby toucans called?

Baby toucans are called fledglings. Adult male and female toucans are just called toucans.

How much do baby toucans weigh?

Baby toucans weigh a mere 30 to 40 grams after hatching. However, they bulk up quickly. By the time they’re 4 months old, they weigh at least a kilogram. That’s some crazy fast growth! Toucans are not fully developed and done growing until they are about 3 years of age at which time they weigh anywhere from 1 to 2 kilograms.

What do baby toucans eat?

Toucan fledglings are usually fed by their parents. Some of a baby toucan’s favorite foods are fruit, bugs, and even small lizards! In captivity, toucan chicks are fed bird formula until they can successfully forage for food on their own.

Where do baby toucans live?

Most baby toucans grow up inside of trees in the forests of both South and Central America and Mexico. Of the 35 species of toucan on Earth, only the Toco Toucan prefers to live and raise their young on savannas or open wooded areas. These toucans use empty holes in trees as their homes. Most of the time, their nests are built in high trees, which makes them extremely difficult to spot. 

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