Monday, 8 April 2013

Keel Billed Toucan - National Bird of Belize

The Keel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus), also known as Sulfur-breasted Toucan or Rainbow-billed Toucan, is a colorful Latin American member of the toucan family. It is the national bird of Belize.

Interesting & Amazing Fact about Keel-Billed Toucan are:

  1. The toucan's beak appears quite heavy, but is actually light. It is hollow, made of the protein keratin with thin rods of bone to support it – similar in consistency to a hard sponge.
  2. Its tongue is like a feather that is used to catch food and flick it down its throat.
  3. Although scientists have yet to discover the exact function of such a large bill, they believe it may play an important role in the courtship display and as a defensive weapon.
  4. When toucans sleep, they turn their head so that their long bill rests on their back and their tail is folded over their head. The bird becomes a ball of feathers.
  5. The keel-billed toucan is the national bird of Belize, or "bill bird" as it is known locally.
  6. In its native region, toucans are associated with evil spirits and are thought to be the incarnation of a demon.
  7. In certain religions of South and Central America, the father of a new child must not eat toucan flesh as it might bewitch the newborn and cause it to fade away.
  8. The toucan can also be a tribal totem and the medicine man can use it as an incarnation to fly to the spirit world.
  9. The toucan is a poor flyer, moving from tree to tree mostly by hopping.
  10. Toucans have a loud frog like call that can be heard up to a half mile away in the jungle!
  11. The keel billed toucan has a diet that primarily consists of large quantities of different varieties of fruit and berries.  And also feasts on bird eggs, insects, lizards, and tree frogs should the keel billed toucan feel puckish and in the absence of fruit.
  12. A female keel billed toucan lays between 1 and 5 eggs in a hollow tree, which usually hatch within a few weeks.
  13. Both the male and female keel billed toucan incubate the eggs and both keel billed toucan parents also feed and look after their keel billed toucan chicks until they are old enough and strong enough to fend for themselves.
  14. Large birds of prey and humans are the keel billed toucan's main predators. However, many other animal species prey on the eggs of the keel billed toucan such as other birds, weasels, snakes and the occasional monkey.
  15. They play with berries like snowball fight and also known as playful bird.

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