Keel-billed Toucan Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Kristin Pia Hayman

Kristin taught for over 10 years in the elementary classroom. She holds a B.A. in Journalism as well as a Master's Degree in Elementary Education.

The keel-billed toucan is a colorful bird living mainly in the rainforests of Central and South America. It is recognized by its large bill and distinct coloring.

The Keel-Billed Toucan

Allow me to introduce you to the keel-billed toucan; a colorful bird living high up in the treetops of tropical rainforests. You may recognize him because of his colorful and rather large bill, but this bird has so much more that makes it unique.

Keel-billed toucans are found throughout the southern part of Central America, all the way down to the northern part of South America. These guys prefer the humid rainforests, living in the trees, spending their time feasting on tropical fruits, taking care of their young, and even playing games!

The keel-billed toucan is very colorful
keel

What Do They Look Like?

Keel-billed toucans are very colorful birds. Their bodies are mainly black with yellow faces and red feathers under their tails, but their bills steal the show! The long bills have many colors but are mostly green with blue, orange, and red markings.

Believe it or not, their huge bills are actually quite light. That is a good thing because these bills make up one-third of their total body length! Keel-billed toucans can grow up to 20 inches long, and their bills can make up 6-7 inches of that length. They usually weigh less than a pound but are still considered to be one of the larger types of toucans.

Even though their bill is lightweight, it serves an important purpose when it comes to eating. The bills allow the birds to pick and catch a variety of food. So, what do they eat? Well, the keel-billed toucan is mainly a frugivore, which means it eats the tropical fruits, nuts, and seeds of the rainforest. However, it will occasionally eat insects, eggs, small lizards and snakes as well.

How Do They Live?

Keel-billed toucans are pretty social birds, and they usually live in groups of around six other birds. They make their nests high up in tree trunks and often lay 1-4 eggs at a time.

Even though they are members of the bird family, these toucans are terrible at flying! Their long wings and large bills make flying uncomfortable, so they rely on their feet to hop from branch to branch in their tree-top homes.

Guess what? These toucans play just like humans do. They can be observed chasing each other from branch to branch through the treetops. They also play catch with small fruits and nuts, tossing them from one bird to another. Some toucans even play games where they use their bills like swords and swat each other back and forth. Sounds like fun!

They spend their days living high up in the rainforest
keel

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