Friday, 5 April 2013

Toco Toucan

order : Piciformes      Genus & Species : Ramphastidae     Family : Ramphastos toco

The toco, with its bold bib and glaring eye, has the greatest liking for open woodland and is most likely to be seen near human settlement.Few people who see the toco toucan are likely to forget the sight of its giant bill and vibrant, eye-catching plumage.They found in South America, from Guyana south across much of southeastern Brazil to northern Argentina, and into westernmost Bolivia; its range excludes the heart of the Amazon rainforest. 

Habitat : Many species of toucan seek refuge in the canopy of tropical forests, but the toco toucan prefers relatively open habitats and is absent from much of the Amazon rainforest, preferring savannah woodland, palm groves, riverside trees and forest edges. This toucan is fond of coconut and sugar plantations and clearings, and is a familiar sight around villages and farms. It is however, entirely dependent on large trees, as it feeds, sleeps and nests high in the treetops. One of the main limitations on where the toucan can live is the availability of nest sites — the species uses tall, living trees with natural holes just large enough to accommodate it.
Food & Feeding : The toco toucan feasts on berries, seeds and fruits;  especially figs. Toucan can use its long bill to reach out from a sturdy branch and grab a juicy prize. Although clumsy looking, the bill is dexterous enough to handle small morsels of food with finesse. The toucan supplements its vegetarian diet by seizing spiders and insects, and on occasion, tree-living snakes and lizards. It often steals the eggs and young of other birds as well.
Behavior : The toco toucan roosts on a large branch at night, twisting its head so that its bill nestles in the warm feathers on its back. Small groups of toco toucans often indulge in “playful” antics: the birds jump around each other and stage mock push-and shove contests with their bills. They also engage in bouts of mutual preening, where one bird stays still while a companion grooms its plumage. Toucans remove dust and sticky seeds by gently nibbling one another’s feathers with the tips of their mandibles.
Breeding : Having found a suitable cavity high up a tree trunk, the male and female toco toucan do little to prepare their nest. They just use decaying wood chips to make a bedding for the two to four eggs. While they incubate their eggs, the toucans regurgitate seeds, making the nest lining deeper. In a little over two weeks, the blind and featherless nestlings hatch in the dark refuge of the nest. Young toucans develop slowly compared to most perching birds; about seven weeks pass before the brood emerges into the outside world. 

Bill : The toucan’s massive bill is not as heavy as it looks: it has a horny outer shell, but is mostly hollow inside.A honeycomb of bony fibers braces the bill for strength.
Eye Rings : A bright blue patch of bare skin surrounds the eye, giving the toucan a piercing “stare.”
Wings & Tail : Short, rounded wings help the toco toucan navigate adroitly through dense forests, while a long, broad tail acts as a balancing aid in the treetops.
Tongue : The toco toucan’s highly specialized tongue helps it move food along its bill. The almost feather like, 6"-long tongue is deeply notched down each side.
Feet : The toucan has strong feet and toes to support its considerable bulk.Two toes point forward and two backward, giving the bird a vice like grip on branches.

Weight : 17.5–10 oz.
Length : 24-26.5"
Wingspan : 19"
Breeding Season : Varies according to region

Adult toco toucans make unusually restless parents. A toucan rarely sits on its eggs for more than an hour before letting its mate take over.

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