Toco 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 toco toucan is the largest type of toucan and also one of the most recognized with its large, colorful bill. They live in the tropical forests of South America and thrive in the lush conditions.

A Tropical Bird

Chances are you can recognize a toucan, right? With its colorful and oversized bill, the toucan is one of the most recognized birds in the world. But, did you know that there are many species of toucan? One of the most interesting is the toco toucan. Let's find out why, shall we?

The toco toucan lives in South American rainforests. These tropical forests are rainforest that are close to the equator. They receive a large amount of rainfall each year and are covered by a canopy of trees. The perfect conditions for the toco to thrive!

The toco toucan is a colorful bird

Unique Physical Traits

These toco toucans have a pretty unique look. First of all, they are the largest member of the toucan family. As adults, their bills can be up to 8 inches long and make up one-third of their total length! Although it looks dangerous, the toucan bill is actually pretty delicate, so while it may scare other animals away, it isn't much use in fighting them off. It does work well for picking and catching food though.

You would think that their bright colors would make them stand out, but in the colorful tropical forests, their coloring actually makes them blend in and camouflages them from many predators. Tocos usually have mostly black bodies except for a white neck. Their signature colors come from the orange skin around their deep blue eyes, and their bright orange-yellow bills. They only get to be around 12 ounces in weight. That's less than a pound!

Their bills set them apart from other birds

Toco Behavior

Toco toucans are mostly frugivores, which means they feast on a diet of fruits, nuts, and seeds. But they do occasionally eat insects, eggs, lizards, and other small animals. They live high up in the treetops. You can sometimes catch these birds picking up fruits, nuts, and seeds with their awesome bills and tossing them back and forth to each other.

Even though the toco is a bird, it isn't a great flier. These birds mostly rely on their feet, hopping from branch to branch to get around. But that doesn't mean they stay hidden. Tocos have an unmistakable loud call that can be heard a half mile away. It sounds like a really loud frog. Ribbit-ribbit!

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