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Keel-Billed Toucan

(Image Source)
I'm looking out the window right now and it's pretty miserable. The sky is gray, there is slushy snow everywhere... I think I need a little color. And what better animal than the Toucan to brighten up a day?

There are around 40 different species of Toucan (sources I've seen differ, but 42 seems like a pretty accurate one). Of all these species, today's feature, the Keel-Billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus), is on the larger side, and definitely sports one of the most colorful bills. They grow to be about 20in (52cm) long, and sport bills that can be as much as 1/3 their entire body size! They weigh up to 500g, with males being slightly larger than females. Keel-Billed Toucans have predominantly black bodies, with yellow chests. Their bill comes in a dazzling array of greens, blues, oranges, and reds.

The bill of the Keel-Billed Toucan is actually not at all heavy. It is in fact made from spongy, hollow bone that is covered in keratin, which itself is very lightweight. Their bills have very tiny ridges on the sides, and cover up a long, thin tongue. Keel-Billed Toucans primarily feed on fruit, which is often swallowed whole. The bill allows them to eat some fruits that other birds cannot, as it enables them to cut up the meal into pieces. Theses Toucans also eat insects, eggs, and the fledglings of other birds.
(Image Source)

Keel-Billed Toucans live in small troops of about half a dozen to a dozen birds. They roost and nest in tree cavities, which are often holes created by Woodpeckers. They live in dense forested areas, and have short, wide wings that allow them to move through the trees. Keel-Billed Toucans also have two toes that face forwards, and two backwards, which allow for easier perching and hopping from branch to branch.

Pairs are monogamous, and lay 2-4 eggs per brood, and may produce 2-3 broods per year.

Keel-Billed Toucans are listed as being of Least Concern.


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