Toucan Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

Toucans are a kind of bird with a colorful beak. This lesson will teach you about toucans, where they live, what they eat, how they use their beaks, and some other cool facts about them.

What Are Toucans?

You've probably been watching cartoons when a fruity cereal commercial interrupted your show. A talking bird with a very large, colorful beak was trying to convince you that your parents needed to buy the fruit flavored cereal right away! That bird is a toucan, and though toucans can't actually talk, the real ones are much more interesting than the cartoon!

Toucans (pronounced TOO-cans) are colorful, tropical birds that have very big beaks. There are different kinds of toucans, but they all have beautiful, bright colors, like a crayon box!

Toucans are colorful, tropical birds.
Colorful Toucan in a Tree

Physical Features of Toucans

Although their huge, brightly colored beaks look like scary self-defense weapons, they aren't very strong and wouldn't do much to protect a toucan from a predator. Their beaks are very light and made of the same thing your fingernails and hair are made of!

Those bright colors actually help toucans blend into the spotty sunlight in the trees, making them harder to see. However, toucans are quite loud and chatty, so they aren't too hard to find--it's like playing hide and seek, but yelling out to all your friends while you hide!

Toucans are much better tree hoppers than they are fliers! Their wings are small, but they can fly for a short time if they really need to. However, they usually just hop around in tree branches. They have pointy claws that help them grab onto limbs so they can move around easily.

Where Do Toucans Live?

In the wild, toucans live in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America. Since they spend most of their time hopping around in tree branches, they're are almost never seen on the ground. Some people keep them as pets, and you can also find them in zoos.

Toucan in a tree
Toucan in a Tree

Toucans make their nests in holes in the trees where they live, and they lay between 2 to 4 eggs each year. Both the mother and father toucans take care of their babies.

When they hatch, toucans don't have those big, beautiful beaks! Their beaks start out small and eventually grow to be about 7.5 inches long, which is about the size of an unsharpened #2 pencil! Imagine if your nose was that long!

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