Toucan Facts for Kids

Benna Crawford
Toucan

Amaze and educate your kids by sharing fun and interesting facts about Toucans with them. With their colorful bills, these birds are interesting to see and learn about. Their exotic appearance is quite appealing to kids and adults alike.

Six Facts About Toucans

Learn a few interesting facts about toucans and share your newfound knowledge with your children as well as other family members and friends.

1. Habitat

Toucans reside in the jungles of South America and Central America and live together in small-sized flocks made up of about five or six birds. They sleep in holes in trees and, to make themselves smaller, roll up into balls with their beaks tucked and tails flipped up.

2. Diet

Toucans eat both plant and animal foods. Their diet consists of:

Sitting toucan
  • Bird eggs
  • Insects
  • Fruit
  • Reptiles
  • Rodents
  • Other birds

3. Weight and Height

An average full-grown toucan weighs less than a pound - about 14 ounces or 400 grams. Full grown toucans are slightly less than two-feet long. From top to tail they are about 20 inches.

4. The Unique Toucan Bill

Toucan bill

Toucans have big bills. As a matter of fact, they have larger bills, in proportion to the size of their body, than any other birds. Toucans' bills average about eight inches in length. Studies suggest that a toucan's bill is so large because it helps to keep the bird cool in the warm climates where it lives. Since they are unable to sweat, they need their bills for air conditioning.

Toucans' bills are not solid. Instead, their structure is similar to a honeycomb, making the bills extremely light. Because toucans' bills are so lightweight, they can't be used for digging or fighting. The large bill does, however, allow them to sit in one spot and reach for food, which is a good thing since toucans don't like to move around much. They make use of length of their bills by digging into holes in trees and logs to grab prey. Toucans also can use their bills for camouflage.

Baby toucans are not born with large beaks; it takes several months for their beaks to reach full size.

5. Claws

Toucans have four claws: two on the front and two on the back, which allow them to cling to branches and balance on trees.

6. Toucan Predators

Jaguars and other big cats are natural predators of the toucan. Humans trap wild toucans for the exotic bird trade, so may be considered unnatural predators.

More Information About Toucans

Toco Toucan
Toco Toucan

Scientists have learned quite a lot about toucans or the Ramphastos sulfuratus, their scientific name. These noisy birds can live a long time; their lifespan is up to 20 years. Some other fun facts about the toucan are:

  • There are about 40 different species of toucans.
  • The most widely recognized toucan is the Toco Toucan, which has a long, orange bill.
  • Female toucans lay two to four eggs every year.
  • Some people keep toucans as pets. These birds can make a great addition to the right homes.
  • Because these birds are so recognizable, they are popular mascots for products such as Fruit Loops cereal. (The cereal box star is a Keel-billed Toucan.)
  • Native populations in South America believe that toucans are able to provide a spiritual connection between the dead and the living.

To the Rescue - Breakfast of Champions

There are many reasons a toucan can get into trouble and need rescue. Poaching removes wild birds from their habitats for the illegal pet trade. Predators will threaten an injured or immature toucan that may be unable to get away. When a baby toucan falls from its nest, it is more likely to be eaten than to be rescued. But one lucky baby made it to a rehabilitation center in Costa Rica with its appetite for life unruffled.

True Things About Toucans

Drill even deeper into toucan lore to understand these magical, tropical birds and why they act the way they do.

  • Toco Toucan
    A toucan's true home is in a rainforest canopy. They are healthiest and happiest in the wild, so it's challenging to recreate a suitable habitat in captivity. If your family is thinking about a pet toucan, be sure to look for one that has been bred domestically, not poached from the wild for the exotic bird trade.
  • It can be tricky to know whether a baby bird is male or female. Toucans are monomorphic which means the males and females are about the same size and coloring. The only reliable way to tell if a bird is male or female is to see if it lays eggs.
  • Toucanettes (mini-toucans) are dimorphic, meaning there are distinct differences between males and females.
  • Toucans love to play, but they aren't great at learning tricks. The birds are super smart, but they are as bouncy as Tiggers. A healthy toucan will spend its day jumping from limb to limb of a tree, seldom perching for more than a few minutes. Some favorite activities in the wild are bonking beaks in playful jousts with flock mates, and hunting for games to play.
  • Toucans eat a lot. First-choice fruits include papayas, mangoes, fresh berries, bananas, apples, grapes and melons, almost anything non-citrus. They will also gobble down spiders and insects, and sometimes snakes and lizards, that they find in trees. If a toucan discovers a nest, it will eat the eggs and even the baby birds of other species.
  • The colorful clownish birds eat about every fifteen minutes and they projectile poop about that often, too. It's very messy, if you have a pet toucan and you don't happen to live in the jungle.
  • Toucans sleep with their huge beaks tucked under their wings to keep warm. Their beaks are filled with blood vessels that circulate the warm blood throughout their bodies to help regulate their temperature during cool jungle nights.

Fascinating Creatures

Now that you know a little more about these brightly colored birds, you can share your facts with your children so they to can come to understand and appreciate toucans. After all, toucans are fascinating creatures!

Toucan Facts for Kids